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Volunteers to plug the gap in Wiltshire’s threatened libraries

A plea by Wiltshire Council for volunteers to help run its public libraries hit by funding cuts has produced a response from 446 people so far, but what they will actually do has yet to be defined.

“It is essentially front of house work,” a council spokesman told Marlborough News Online. “The council has been working with Volunteer Centre Wiltshire to help keep 10 of the county’s smallest libraries open, and to help extend the opening hours at other libraries using community volunteers.”

Volunteers have been sought from across the county, in particular for the smaller libraries in villages such as Ramsbury, where volunteers are in action and in Aldbourne.

“The library service already has considerable experience working with volunteers,” adds the council spokesman. “More than 270 currently support the service in a variety of was, including assisting with the Summer Reading Challenge, and with the home deliver service for housebound residents.”

Meanwhile, new easy to use self-service machines are to be installed in all Wiltshire Council libraries during the next two months, which will produce a staff saving of £300,000 a year.

“We have had an overwhelming response following our requests for local volunteers, and I would personally like to thank the hundreds of people who have come forward,” said deputy council leader John Thomson.

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