Charity saves Sunderland library collection from the ashes

Chief officer Sylvia Copley (middle) with staff and volunteers
Chief officer Sylvia Copley (middle) with staff and volunteers
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Read all about it - hundreds of books have a new home after a local library closure.

Following the closure of Shiney Row Library last month, charity Sharp, who are based round the corner in Beatrice Terrace, have taken in a number of the books from the collection.

Sylvia sorts through some of the books ahead of opening day today

Sylvia sorts through some of the books ahead of opening day today

It adds to the services already provided by the community hub, which include welfare, benefits and debt advice.

Volunteers and staff have transformed an under-used meeting room to create a community library service, which will open to the public today.

Sylvia Copley, chief officer at SHARP, which stands for Shiney Row advice and resource project, said: “We are very well aware of the effects of austerity, which have hit local authorities hard. Following the library review, hard choices had to be made, which have affected local communities.

“We had actually hoped to take over the library building but the resources weren’t available to us in the time scale, so we decided to bring the library into Sharp.”

Some of the books after Shiney Row LIbrary closure

Some of the books after Shiney Row LIbrary closure

Though it’s not a statutory library service, the community library will offer a free loans service of hundreds of books covering a range of genres, from general reference and crime to children’s books.

The centre also acts as an electronic village hill with ten computers offering free internet access.

Sylvia said: “We are hoping to attract more young people through the doors and, as we develop the offering, are hoping any people interested in the community library will help on a volunteer basis.”

Earlier this week, the Echo reported how people power has ensured a fresh chapter for another Sunderland library.

Fulwell Library, in Dene Lane, has been reinvented as Fulwell Community Library after a community interest company was formed with the help of 92 volunteers.

Sunderland City Council ceased its library provision in Fulwell in May, alongside libraries at Bunnyhill, Ryhope, Sandhill, Kayll Road, Hetton and Washington Millennium Centre.