A STRATTON library has celebrated its 50th anniversary.

Generations of library users descended on the Upper Stratton library – renamed Beechcroft Library in September – to celebrate its 50th year.

There were also opportunities to find out more about Stratton St Margaret Parish Council’s future plans for the building, which include installing a lift to allow those with limited mobility to access first floor rooms.

That the library is open at all is a victory, campaigners said. Last year, there were fears that the Upper Stratton Library would be shut.

Lesley Hemingway, chairman of the Friends of Beechcroft Library, said: “It’s 50 years since the library was first opened. We’re just happy that we’re still open.

“It’s particularly important for this area. It’s a community hub, providing community facilities for Upper Stratton.”

Where 50 years ago the library was intended purely as a place to read books or newspapers, now the building acts more as a community resource.

The library boasts a small café, hosts storytelling, knitting and art groups and also offers internet access.

The latter was a vital resource, said Lesley. “It’s very important for people who are looking for work and also for people claiming benefits.”

The Friends now want to know what Stratton residents want from their library.

Planned work to install an accessible lift will allow more people to access community rooms on the first floor, Stratton St Margaret Parish Council clerk Tracy Predeth said. The parish has been given £40,000 by the borough to kick-start the work.

The parish took on the library on September 1.

Tracy said: “I think it’s been well received. People are glad that they feel we’ve saved it. It’s very much use it or lose it.”