Volunteers an important step towards over their library after cash-strapped Surrey County Council voted to withdraw its professional librarians.

The Friends of Stoneleigh Library, which formed in March to ensure the library stayed open, held an information session at the library last week in a bid to recruit 80 volunteers.

Diana Kay, chair of the Friends of Stoneleigh Library, told the 25 people who turned-up: “We all love Stoneleigh and we love the library and we don’t want to lose the facility.

“Of course we want the libraries to stay as they are, but if there is a lack of money and it’s the only way we can keep a library open, then in Stoneleigh I hope people will support us.

“We can work with the council in running the library.”

So far the group has seven trustees and a core group of 20 volunteers.

Surrey County Council will continue to supply books, IT services, buildings and will also provide phone support to the volunteers for the first six months after they take over next April.

Mrs Kay added: “Although we are the core group we can’t possibly hope to run the library on our own, so that’s why we need the help of volunteers.

“If every volunteer does three hours every two weeks then we need 80 people.”

Following a call-in by Liberal Democrat and Residents Association councillors to review the cabinet’s policy, Surrey County Council’s community select committee voted in favour of the plans on October 18.

The decision to throw out the policy was lost by just one vote as Residents Association Councillor Jan Mason, who was one of three councillors to call in the decision, was absent due to a hospital appointment.

Volunteers will now take over the day-to-day management at 10 libraries across Surrey including Ewell Court, Tattenhams and Stoneleigh.

Residents Association councillor Mike Teasdale and trustee, said: “Stoneleigh has a branch of volunteers who are so keen and so understanding that unless we do something Stoneleigh library and others are likely to disappear.

“We are lucky because we have got a really strong core group and they have come up with ideas for the future of the library and the things the community can provide.”

The Friends are holding a further volunteer information session on Tuesday, November 15, at 7.30pm at The Baptist Church, The Glade in Stoneleigh.

For more information on volunteering email friendsstoneleighlib@gmail.com

Volunteers views

“I feel a little bit more encouraged because I have got a lot of fears about this.

“I love books and I would love to be a librarian but when I come to the library I’m and the one asking how to you use things.”

Prospective volunteer, Stoneleigh.

“I think I will probably volunteer.

“I thought the meeting was quite informative and it told me everything I wanted to know.

“I think my only concern would be that books would be fine but IT might be a little beyond my capabilities.

“I have got very basic IT skills.

“Overall I think it’s a very good idea and if there is no money to run libraries then this is a good alternative.”

David Lowe, 69, Ewell Village

“I think I might volunteer because I don’t want it to close.

“I already use this room as an art group.

“I do think they should maybe have kept it as it was.

“But you need a library for help some times.”

Anne Parker, 70, Sutton