A CHARITY have just signed a 25-year lease with the council to continue running a Newport library.

Maindee Library, in Chepstow Road, was saved just days before its closure in 2015, after Newport City Council agreed to let a group of volunteers take it over. The library was due to close after the council announced it was to make city-wide cuts to library provision and could no longer run it.

Since then, Maindee Unlimited has been running the library, relying on volunteers.

John Hallam, programme manager and volunteer at Maindee Unlimited, said: “This is an important milestone for the library.

“I think it is one of the first council assets to be transferred to a community group in Newport.”

He said libraries are the “intellectual heart” of communities.

“They are place where people can come and they know they will have a warm welcome and will be respected,” he continued.

“Particularly for children, it is a good place to get reading habits.

“For older people, it creates a social interaction, especially for those who live on their own.”

Mr Hallam said that, apart from lending books, they also offer free access to computers and the internet. He said their printing services are also very popular.

They have a core group of 20 volunteers who run the library, with a further 20 volunteering on a more informal basis, he added.

The programme manager said they had been discussing the lease with Newport City Council for a year, who wanted to make sure the charity was in a secure financial position before signing the lease.

“One of the reasons the council has agreed to do this is because they have a level of confidence in Maindee Unlimited,” he continued.

“We have to thank our volunteers and the members of the public for helping us achieve this sense of confidence.”

The charity has plans for refurbishing the library, starting the building work around October this year and hopefully finishing by March 2018.

Mr Hallam said they have not made a final decision on the improvements, but these will include the improvement of the toilets and possibly enhancing catering facilities. They have a budget of around £200,000 for the refurbishment. To find out more, visit facebook.com/MaindeeLibrary