BOOK lovers in a North Herefordshire village have bucked a nationwide trend to increase the number of visitors to their library and extend its opening hours.

Leintwardine Library is now open 70 per cent more hours each month while library use is up 13 per cent thanks to the efforts of local volunteers who have breathed new life into the facility.

They formed a new library support group – FOLCL – which set itself the challenging target of turning round library use, and transforming the way the library worked to meet local needs.

New activities have been laid on, including children’s writing competitions, craft-making sessions for children, World Book Night celebrations, and a mini-Shakespeare festival. The effort has paid off.

Parish Councillor Emma Gorbutt, chairman of FOLCL, said: “Leintwardine Community Library shows how partnership working between councils and local people can lead to dramatic and positive results. The village values and uses its library, and we are confident that, in the coming years, we can continue to provide our community with so much more than books.”

FOLCL is preparing a new Strategic Plan for Leintwardine Library, aiming to reach out to those who don’t currently use it to find out why and what would need to change to encourage them to do so.