St James bids farewell to community champion who transformed local library

Jane will be missed at the library by many
Jane will be missed at the library by many

Good luck messages have poured in for the friendly face of a Northampton library who transformed the facility into a thriving community hub over her short time in charge.

Before Jane Langer took over St James library four years ago, it functioned as little more than a book loaning facility for the local community.

Jane Langer

Jane Langer

Today it has an award-winning garden, regular groups for children, coffee mornings for elderly people - it runs an international language cafe as well as book clubs and quiz nights.

The garden there won a gold award at the annual In Bloom competition.

But due to county council cutbacks, Jane spent her last day at the library at the end of August amid a round of tributes from her regular service users.

“Jane is brilliant,” said Carol Virgo, who comes into the library to loan books and use the computers.

“She is always open to ideas about different ways to use the library.

“She is going to be greatly missed - she is such a happy personality.”

Chair of St James Residents’ Association Graham Croucher, added: “She is full of caring and a really wonderful person.

“When she arrived at this library it was a place that was struggling to keep going to be honest.

“She brought a wonderful charm back to the place.

“We will all miss her in this community - we thank her from the bottom of our hearts.”

Jane lives Hunsbury and was given a Heart of the Community Award for her efforts at the library earlier this year.

But with the future of the St James Library and 20 others across the county still hanging in the balance, she said it was essential to keep the facility open.

Northamptonshire County Council outlined plans to shut 21 smaller libraries across the county in late 2017 and offer them to community groups to run, though many of those submitting bids have no regular source of income and are concerned about the running costs.

“The world today is a complicated place for a lot of people,” Jane said. “They are on low incomes and struggle.

“The library is a safe place they can come to get help. Everyone has to apply for jobs and benefits online these days…they may not have computers, the skills to use them, or access to the internet.

“The library provides this space. I feel we all need to fight to keep these service, especially in this area.”