A new chapter has begun in the life of Narberth Library.

The facility is now community managed in a three-way partnership between the Friends of Narberth Library, Narberth Town Council and Pembrokeshire County Council’s cultural services department.

The Friends were formed following the prospect of losing the town’s historic and much-loved library to cutbacks.

The group has around 20 volunteers who will help to run the library, with the town council has taken on the lease of the building and its running costs.

The county council will continue to supply stock, IT and some paid staffing.

“I’m delighted to be a part of the project that secures the future of Narberth’s library,” said Pembrokeshire County Councillor Elwyn Morse, cabinet member for culture, sport and leisure.

“Libraries are so important to local communities and partnerships such as this, where scarce resources are pooled towards a common aim, are vital to help us to retain valued services in times of cut-backs.”

Councillor Sue Rees, on behalf of Narberth Town Council, said: “We decided that it would be better to invest in the building, rather than pay the county council the extra staffing costs to keep the library open.

“Having saved the swimming pool by taking it over for the community, we knew that the idea would work and could result in a win-win situation for everyone concerned. It just meant getting everyone to work together, to agree who could provide what.

“We now have a library that no one can close unless the people of the town no longer want it. It will require ongoing support from the community and all concerned. We even have the ability to extend the service if there is a need.

“I am sure that everyone will support this valuable community library long into the future.”

Marc Tierney, the chair of the Friends of Narberth Library said: “I’m really proud that we have a strong team of volunteers, many of whom have been part of the fight to save the library.  We know that the community values the library and the service it provides.

“So for us, the idea that Narberth library could close simply wasn’t an option. I’m pleased that the town council has been so supportive in helping us to keep the doors open.

“After a year of meetings, discussion and training, we have worked with the county council to develop a community-managed service with our fully trained volunteers ready to help on a Tuesday afternoon and Saturday morning. So do pop in and say hello, and support Narberth library.”

*The library’s new opening hours are: Tuesday, 3pm-6pm; Thursday, 10am-1pm and 2pm-6pm and Saturday, 10am-1pm.