A band of volunteers has turned a page in the history of Burton Bradstock’s library – and given the village a new facility.

The library has become one of the latest in rural Dorset to be run by the community, using the books, facilities and resources of the county library service, but staffed by local people.

The Friends of Burton Bradstock Library opened the doors of the library last week for the first day as a fully community-run venture.

The 99-year library building lease is now held by Burton Bradstock Parish Council which has sub-leased it to the friends who will manage and maintain the building.

Friends’ chairman Prof Bob Hynds said the local community had been involved in manning the library for a number of years and that the transfer would see the facility open for 12 hours over six days each week.

“The last few months have been a bit hectic and we have had to recruit and train an extra 12 volunteers to run the library,” he said.

“But now we have some 20 people involved and there is considerably more support in the village.

“But what is also very important is that now that the parish council has the lease, the building is locked into village life for the future and can now be used for community purposes.

“At one point there was talk about the building being sold and it may have become another holiday property. But now it is secure for the foreseeable future.

“We still have the full resource from the county library system, but now they provide the kit and we provide the people.”

The friends have to find at least £2,500 a year for the building’s running costs and will be undertaking fundraising events and raising money from subscriptions.

A Dorset County Council spokesman said: “The transfer of services to Burton Bradstock library completes the arrangements with the local community, having successfully taken on responsibility for the building last year.

“The council recognises the support of the volunteers at Burton Bradstock over the past four years in helping to deliver their local library service.”

The library in Burton Bradstock is open from 10am to noon on Tuesdays and Saturdays and 3pm to 5pm on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. Users will still use the same library card both at the community libraries and council run libraries elsewhere in the county.