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VILLAGERS who saved their library from closure and took over its day-to-day running have won a Queen s Award for Volunteers. Somersham library has been run by volunteers since it was closed in a cost-cutting measure by Cambridgeshire County Council. Its
VILLAGERS who saved their library from closure and took over its day-to-day running have won a Queen's Award for Volunteers.
Somersham library has been run by volunteers since it was closed in a cost-cutting measure by Cambridgeshire County Council.
Its ongoing success will now see a group of the volunteers travel to Buckingham Palace for the annual royal garden party in July, while the award will be presented to them by the Lord Lieutenant of Cambridgeshire, Hugh Duberly, at the library on July 21.
Julie Liddle, chairman of FOSL (Friends of Somersham Library), which was set up to save the library, said: "The irony is that the county library services are very proud of the service we provide and advertise it frequently. We have shown that volunteers can run a library and it has set a trend."
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The county council announced its proposal to close the library - one of 10 axed - in November 2002.
It re-opened in October 2003 as a community information centre, incorporating the library, and now offers books, information and free computer courses.
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Mrs Liddle said: "More people use the library than before.
"We could have sat back and let the library close and we would have lost a valuable resource. We had to fight hard and negotiate with the library service but it was so well worth it."
Lesley Noblett, head of CCC's library service, said: "This is a real mark of all the hard work that the whole team at Somersham has put in.