Botanic Library In the Gardens group bid for Aviva funding

The library in the Gardens group are bidding for a slice of a community grant from Aviva.

Run by the North Meols Library Association, the group aim to bring back a full time library to the Churchtown area of Southport are asking people across the town to log on and get voting for them to hopefully receive up to £5,000.

If successful, the group will plan to set up a library in the former Bowling Green house in the Botanic Gardens.

North Meols Library Association (NMLA) was formed as a direct response to the closure of Churchtown Library in 2014. It was a well loved and well used resource for the community with over 4,000 people signing a petition to save the library. Many children from local schools used the library regularly and it was a lifeline for the elderly and for those who need to use the internet.

A spokesperson for the NMLA said: “There is an overwhelming desire to keep a library in the area. Following a public meeting NMLA set about planning a community library run by volunteers.

“We have identified the unused bowls pavilion in Botanic Gardens in Churchtown (hence “The Library in the Gardens”) as an ideal location being reasonably central to the areas we want to reach.

“Negotiations for the use of this building with Sefton Council are well advanced and we are about to submit a bid for funding to Big Lottery.

“In addition to a lending service for books and other resources, including internet access, we will offer various activities and courses. In a recent survey with the community the most popular responses were for yoga, learning a foreign language, IT courses, crochet/knitting, creative writing and sketching.

“A library will be core to our project and to this end Sefton Library Service gave us approximately 3,300 books of all genres to cover all ages, and includes talking books and large print books. The local community have donated 1,000 more. We are applying to Big Lottery for funding for the upgrade and renovation of the building, which will cost between £80,000 and £100,000, however we we need to purchase a library catalogue system now so we can assess the book stocks we have and identify duplications and gaps.

“We have done our research and found a suitable system provided by a company, Micro Librarian Systems, based in the North West of England, not too far from us.

“To supply the Standard Package including software, training, barcode labels, everything we need for our first year the cost is £4,995.00. Full details of the quotes can be provided.

“Negotiations with the local authority are well underway as regards the lease, planning permission and they have promised £25,000 towards the renovation of the building subject to match funding.”