Denton West Community Library celebrates landmark after being told it will close

A LIBRARY that was earmarked for closure has celebrated its sixth birthday after the community took it on.

Denton West Community Library

And Denton West Community Library shows no signs of slowing down as it continues to thrive.

When Tameside Council said the Windsor Road facility would close, leaving an entire area without a library, people stood up and fought.

Now after taking out a business loan it is blossoming, with the shelves well stocked for its 1,700 members to use and other groups using the space.

Local MP Andrew Gwynne and Tameside Council leader Brenda Warrington were among those marking the anniversary.

“Basically, the council was going to shut the building,” said chairman Ian Wilson, who revealed the running costs of about £1,600 a month are met through a combination of donations, fundraising and room hire from organisations offering things as varied as kickboxing and tai chi to a community choir.

“We formed a friends group and looked at various options and were told that if we wanted to have a library off site, we’d have to build it.

“So we took out a business loan that’s repaid over 20 years to take the building on. We still have 16 years left to go on it.

“We have about 50 volunteers and 15 trustees of the library and it costs about £1,600 a month just to keep the building open but we’re constantly trying to improve it. It’s totally changed.”

Vice-chair Karen McLauchlan admitted when they took the building on there was a feeling of ‘We own a library, what are we going to do with it now?’

But after finding it in what is described as ‘council beige’, Denton West Community Library is a bright, colourful space with a large children’s section, including a train full of books that was donated to them.

There is a graffiti wall, where children write their feelings – most of which contain the phrase, ‘Love it’.

“People donate a couple of pounds a month but we also have things like quiz nights and even a community cinema on the second Sunday of every month,” Mr Wilson added.

“And we’ve kept a constant stream of books. We’ve actually been advised to not pack all the shelves full of them but people donate them.”

Mrs McLauchlan added: “Some donations we pass on to other groups and some we sell for 50p.”

The Friends of Denton West End Library was formed in August 2012 to challenge, seek extension to the closure and request gifting of the library to the community.

On June 28, 2013 the newly formed charity Denton West End Community Library completed purchase of the building from Tameside Council.

Now six years later, volunteers gathered to celebrate their achievement, with no shortage of people milling around using what the library was intended for.

Mr Gwynne, who was there with wife and Denton councillor Allison, saluted their efforts.

He said: “It’s amazing, the community came together and it’s more than just a library, it’s a community hub.

“It’s remarkable to have been on this journey with the volunteers, who have such dedication. It’s a real community asset.”

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