Library friends group looks to secure future

The Friends of Scarborough Library are hoping to attract new members.

The Friends of Scarborough Library are hoping to attract new members.

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The Friends of Scarborough Library organisation celebrated its 15th anniversary this year – but the future of the group is in doubt.

It is struggling to get people into the key posts as the long-serving committee members look to step aside.

Karen McCabe, the current chair of Friends of Scarborough Library.

Karen McCabe, the current chair of Friends of Scarborough Library.

Set up in 2000 it was the first library friends group in North Yorkshire and the committee have worked tirelessly to encourage more people to use the important facility.

The popular monthly programme of talks, to encourage people to use the library, has seen local and national figures take to the stage covering topics such as Egyptology, gardening, art, history, travel, cooking, penguins, Butlins and of course books.

The current committee has been in post for a number of years and their efforts to find new people to come forward to carry on their good work has had limited success. While the group has an active membership of over 200, finding people to take on the organisation is proving difficult.

Karen McCabe, the current chair, said: “Les Banks, a stalwart of the group from the beginning and founder of the Friends music group, has recently moved away from Scarborough and Colin Langford, editor of the Friends newsletter, Reflections, is awaiting an eye operation, curbing his editing activities. The other committee members are all long serving and are now looking to step aside.

“There is a real danger the group will fold. This would be very sad coming at a challenging and potentially exciting time for the library.”

Lee Taylor, area manager for libraries in Scarborough said: “The Friends group are just that, they are friends, and I can’t praise the committee enough for the work they have done to promote the library and its work, raise funds, put on events and enhance the library’s cultural programme.”

The group’s activities raised money for the restoration of the Bechstein grand piano in the concert room, enabling Maria Billington and her late husband Vincent to attract internationally renowned pianists to Scarborough.

More recently they have raised money for the conservation and restoration of the iconic Edward Bawden ‘map’ of Scarborough, presented to the library by Tom Laughton.

If anyone is interested in joining The Friends of Scarborough Library, they can contact Karen McCabe via Scarborough Library or speak to the committee members at the Friends event on the first Saturday of the month, 11-1pm, held at the library.