CAMPAIGNERS are rejoicing after an anonymous benefactor helped them towards saving a vital community service.
Friends of Tottington Library has received £15,000 from a donor, nearly three quarters of the total the group needs to run the library in Market Street.
Bury Council will stop all funding for at least 10 and possibly 11 libraries across the borough, definitely including Tottington, from August 1 as part of its libraries review.
But the group believes it is possible to keep the library open and for the building to continue to operate as a community centre, which also acts as a meeting place for more than 20 activity groups.
The group hopes to do this through volunteers and donations, and is asking residents for support.
The council estimates the library, a Grade II-listed building, costs £21,000 to run per year, but also requires £100,000 spending on it for repairs.
Cllr Yvonne Wright, a member of Friends of Tottington Library, said: “We are absolutely thrilled that a private donor has come forward and donated £15,000 towards our first-year running costs.
“We are ecstatic we have been given this opportunity and we will be working very hard to make up the shortfall.
“We have already arranged two events and fundraising will be ongoing.
“Different members of our group have different skills and experience, and we will be able to come up with great ways to raise the funds.”
The group is also working towards charitable status, and hopes to continue recruiting volunteers.
Cllr Iain Gartside, who started the initial online petition to save the library, which gained more than 1,000 signatures, said: “We are all working hard to ensure that we make a success of the library and we are confident that we can succeed with the continued support of the community.
“We are pleased to have received many offers of help, including from Tottington businesses, and we are busy preparing for the takeover on August 1.”
Bury Council’s two options for its libraries plan both include closing, or removing, council support at Tottington Library.
The first option, described as the council’s bare minimum legal responsibility, is to keep open Bury, Prestwich and Ramsbottom libraries.
The council’s preferred choice would be to keep these three open as well as Radcliffe Library.
The council must make a further £32million of cuts to services before 2020.
The council has said it will support any community groups attempting to keep open the libraries.
Klare Rufo, assistant director for learning and culture at the council, said: “We will work with the community, councillors and residents, to help build a business plan to keep the library open, but it must not be at any cost to the council.”