THE new library for Stanmore will open on January 21 following the closure of the previous branch last Thursday. (DEC20)

The service will relocate to the Carroll Centre in nearby Somers Close.

The county council closed the Wavell Way branch as it was one of the least-used and smallest libraries in Hampshire, with an average of 106 borrowers a month. Critics said the council had through limited opening hours made closure inevitable.

Councillor Keith Chapman, county executive member for culture and recreation, said: “Stanmore library had some of Hampshire’s lowest customer numbers so by moving library services to The Carroll Centre in January, it means the community won’t lose out, and we can continue to provide residents with a local library service on their doorstep.

“The Carroll Centre is already a thriving hub for community activity so it made sense to work with them, and Winchester City Council, to find a solution that benefits everyone. As a result, the library will now move to a much busier location where it will be open many more hours per week.”

The new library services will be officially opened on January 21, by county council leader, Ken Thornber.

Subject to work being completed on the site, it is hoped that the centre may however be able to welcome library users in advance of the official opening date.

Hampshire Library Service will continue to provide the books and resources, including a self-service kiosk at The Carroll Centre so people can issue and return books themselves, but the library itself will be run by the centre.

The previous branch cost some £36,000 a year to run – or around £15 per visit. Book issues from the library have also almost halved over the last five years, while only three per cent of people who live in Stanmore borrowed from the library which is two miles from Winchester Discovery Centre.

The Carroll is open five and a half days a week, and already offers many activities including after school and holiday clubs, a children’s centre and a wide variety of courses for adults and children including IT.