The first of the four libraries out-sourced by Bexley Council last year has now re-opened, as a community run facility.

Bostall Library, in King Harolds Way, Belvedere, risked closing for good when the council gave residents the option to step up and run the book haven or lose it forever.

Map: Bostall Library

Blackfen, North Heath and Upper Belvedere libraries were also on the chop list announced last February.

Horrified by the prospect of losing the facility, which is just down the road from Bedonwell Junior School, a group of volunteers joined together, under the direction of founding member Kim Bryans, and started the Bostall Community Library Group.

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Left-right: Hazel McLean, director Kim Bryans and Amanda Geater in the new cafe

The new-and-improved community library re-opened on Monday (April 4), after a hectic two weeks of painting and cleaning by dedicated volunteers.

One of those helpers, Amanda Geater, told News Shopper: “Uniquely, we set up just for that library, and had to go through the whole process of registering as a charity.

“Kim was the driving force, she’s worked for the library service in the past and seen it reducing and reducing.

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Antoinette Gifford with her niece Grace Ward, four

“I think people were quite worried about the library shutting, because for them it’s a bus ride into Bexleyheath, Welling, Sidcup, or Crayford.

“That was the driving force. It’s been open since 1939. It just seemed a real shame to see it closing.”

The council will make a contribution to the library’s running costs in the form of a grant for five years, before the group have to become fully self-sufficient.

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Amber Thind, 14, recently signed up as a volunteer

There will be one full-time librarian working there, alongside a team of 25 volunteers, and they plan to offer home services to elderly residents.

It will be open on Monday and Saturday mornings, Tuesday afternoons, and all day (from 9.30am to 5pm) on Thursdays and Fridays.