Volunteers determined to re-open Stow Hill library in Newport
A BAND of volunteers are determined to push ahead with their plan to resurrect the closed Stow Hill library in Newport.
Around 30 people went to a meeting on Wednesday night to discuss plans for the future after Newport council closed the library on March 31 because of budget constraints.
The five-person committee, called the Stow Hill Library Association, will hold another meeting next week to formally vote in a committee, recruit more volunteers and register for charitable status.
They intend to open the new-look library seven days a week.
Group member John Hallan said if they become a charity they will be given 80 per cent rates relief, but renovation of the small building will cost around £20,000.
Possible names for the new community facility, which could host niche clubs and small meetings as well as a reading corner for children, were suggested as the Handpost Community Centre or the Phoenix Community Centre.
Alan Roderick, acting chairman of the group, told the Argus they wanted to gauge the level of public interest in keeping the library and said 30 people was a good turnout.
David Crowson, also a group member, told the meeting the group needs financial backers with deep pockets and they want to create "the library of tomorrow" where people can drop in and use computers.
"The building needs completely re-wiring," Mr Crowson told the meeting. "The council are giving us a stay of execution on selling the place."
The group needs at least 25 volunteers and must present a draft business plan to Newport council by August 15, the meeting heard.
Councillor David Fouweather, member for Allt-yr-Yn ward, compared the council closing the library to save £12,000 to "a paracetamol in the River Usk".
Mr Hallan called for the meeting to stay apolitical.
Gary Fisher, chairman of the Gwent Federation of Conservative Clubs said he would sponsor the group while Leighton Long, who lives nearby and used to run auctions for the Scouts, suggested holding an auction every three months to raise funds.
The group's next meeting is on August 14, from 7.30pm at Stow Park Church Centre, Brynhyfryd Road.
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