One of Britain’s most respected authors has praised the vision of those behind Falkland Community Library after villagers saved the cherished facility from closure.
James Oswald, whose crime novels have topped multiple best seller lists, cut the ribbon to officially open the village’s library on Saturday.
The day of celebration ended a lengthy battle to save the vital service from Council cuts, with plans in the pipeline to make the library an exemplar in Scotland.
The village’s library was one of 16 identified by Fife Council for closure, much to the shock and disappointment of the community.
After much rallying and fund-raising, an initial five-year lease to run the service was secured by Falkland Community Development Trust (FCDT), a charity formed from the dissolution of the existing Village Hall Trust.
Now the volunteers hope to make the library a hub for all, with cloud-based lending systems, coffee, courses in arts, programming, electronics and robotics, mindfulness and enhanced learning for children.
“What FCDT has done, here, for the future of the Falkland community is exceptional,” said Newburgh-based author James Oswald, who signed copies of new paperback, Written In Bones.
“Councils cutting libraries may seem an easy cost to trim but it will cost them down the line because these facilities provide more than just book lending for communities.
“This is the perfect example and it is great to see that those taking this project forward have even bigger ambitions and ideas than before.”
Since taking ownership of the keys from the council, volunteers have been operating a modest service to test new systems ahead of the launch.
Revenue from lets of the village hall, which backs onto the library building, will help subsidise future plans for the community library.
There are even discussions to form a digital archive of rare images held by the local heritage charity, Falkland Society.
Saturday’s official opening marked the beginning of the new service and a fresh chapter for the village.
“There was a lot of disbelief when it was announced we might lose the library,” said FCDT chair Ken Laurie.
“It has always played an important role in the village. It wasn’t just book lending, elderly people saw it as a place to socialise, there was a vibrant kids section and the local primary school visited regularly.
“To see it open again is a source of pride and relief for the village.
“We have fought really hard for two years. People wanted it to continue and wanted to contribute. Volunteers came forward and put their hands up.
“Their contribution going forward, will ensure that the library remains a vibrant place of information, imagination and learning for the whole community.”