THE COMMUNITY in Puddletown is celebrating a year of running its own library.

A new chapter begun 12 months ago when the village, which was one of nine communities to lose core funding from Dorset County Council’s library service, officially took over the running of its own library.

Volunteers and residents have banded together to make the Community Library In Puddletown a success over the past year and now they are looking forward to a bright future.

Treasurer Stephen Buck said: “It’s been a pleasure to do it, we seem to have settled down very well and achieved what we wanted to achieve.”

The library, which opens from 3pm to 5.30pm on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and from 10am to noon on Saturdays, is staffed by a committed team of around 25 volunteers with the support of the Friends of Puddletown Library, which has around 90 members.

Local residents have also shown their support for the library by using the facility.

Secretary Lizzie Peckover said one of the major successes was a Thursday morning toddler session that attracts around 20 children for various reading based activities.

She said: “They are very relaxed and happy in here.”

Mr Buck said this was a reflection of how the move to self control had benefitted the community as the volunteers aimed to make wider use of the library as a kind of village hub.

He said: “We see it as a place where people can come and meet so we have supplied newspapers and magazines and that kind of thing, we run a book club and we have also tried to bring in some of our older residents.”

Mike Chaney from the Friends of Puddletown Library was among those who helped save the facility for the community.

He said he was delighted with the outcome and the service now available for people in Puddletown and hoped residents continued to show their support.

Mr Chaney said: “It’s good for the community to feel it has got a much more direct link with it and it’s their library.

“If they want it then they have to support it – that’s the end of it.”

However, he said he hoped other communities would not be the victims of Puddletown’s success if Dorset County Council saw how successful it was and thought about withdrawing funding to other libraries.