THE people of Upper Stratton gathered in Beechcroft Road yesterday to witness the grand reopening of the community library.

Councillors and residents were treated to a spot of grub and Stratton St Margaret Parish Council chairman Joe Tray cut the ribbon.

It follows the handover of responsibility for running the library from the borough council to the parish council earlier this year.

The intention is for the library to be turned into a “thriving” community hub, providing vital resources for residents in Upper Stratton.

Addressing the gathering, Coun Tray said: “Many of you have been coming here for many years and have supported the library.

“Sadly, libraries as we know them are having to close because the borough can no longer afford to keep them open.

“But we have a vision for this and we think it can be a huge success.”

Speaking about the parish council’s plan for the library, Coun Tray said: “We hope that people will use it for all kinds of things, whether to pop in for a coffee, to get advice from the police or the fire service or, simply, to read a book.

“We feel that we are very Grange Leisure-centric, and for too long the people of Upper Stratton have not had access to a suitable community centre, but we hope to change that.”

The parish council intends to let groups such as the Stratton Camera Club and the art group display their work for all to see.

In order to galvanise the spirit of locals, the parish council thought it would be a good idea to let residents come up with a new name for the library.

There have been many submissions, but a decision is yet to be made on the winning name.

Favourites include Stratton Book Hub, Stratton’s New Leaf, The Page Turner, The Beech Hut and, comically, Dave.

The new name is likely to be known after next week’s parish council meeting.

In the meantime, focus will be placed on the day-to-day running of the library and how it is funded.

The parish council needs to raise £10,000 to keep it going for the next year, and they have appealed to residents and businesses to help in any way they can.

They have also thanked those companies who have donated their labour and furnishings to make it look warm and welcoming.

Coun Tray issued a heartfelt thank you to the Friends of Upper Stratton Library and to councillors for their “hard work and dedication” in making the grand opening possible.