Campaigners' joy as Northampton library gets set for a new chapter in a new home

Bookshelves reopen for first time since before Covid

Monday, 11th July 2022, 2:28 pm

A Northampton library starting a new chapter at a new home has been hailed as a “wonderful opportunity” by campaigners who fought to keep it open.

St James’ Library will open its shelves to customers at the Doddridge Centre on July 25, followed by an official opening on Saturday, July 30.

The move comes after the library was shuttered during the Covid-19 pandemic and years of battling to avoid it becoming a victim of county council cutbacks.

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The Doddridge Centre in Northampton will be home to St James' Library from later this month

Graham Croucher, chair of trustees, said: “This wonderful opportunity for our community comes after many years of fighting to keep a library in the area, such that the community took the fight to the highest level to protect this vital facility.

“Fast forward and we are now able to once again provide a community focused library that we can all be proud of.

“We are grateful for the assistance of those local councillors who shared our vision, the support of 21 GLN, the library service, the amazing Doddridge team and the community, for their unwavering support.”

An appeal was launched earlier this year to find a community group willing to take over running the library. The Doddridge Centre has been at the heart of the St James’ community for many years providing a wide range of facilities and support to locals and voluntary groups and enterprises.

The library will open just in time for the ever-popular ‘Summer Reading Challenge’. This year’s theme is Gadgeteers.

Rachel Bott, Doddridge Centre director, said: “The local community deserves to have their library reinstated and whilst it is not in its original home, I believe the Centre provides a wonderful alternative.

“We are really looking forward to welcoming the public to our community library and building new relationships.”

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Councillor Adam Brown, West Northamptonshire Council deputy leader, said: “I am delighted we now have a new home for our library in St James.

Libraries provide many valuable services and are an essential element to a thriving community. Accommodating it within the Doddridge Centre is the perfect fit.

“I am grateful to everyone involved in reinstating this library and commend their hard work to ensure that people can continue to benefit from this much-loved community hub.”