HAMPSHIRE'S first community-run library has opened in Winchester.

County council leader Ken Thornber opened Stanmore Community Library at The Carroll Centre in Somers Close on Monday (Jan 21).

Centre staff have been working on the project for a year after the county closed Stanmore's previous branch in December after deciding it was underused.

Jool Heller-Dixon, Carroll Centre manager, said: “We are thrilled to have this here. We have kept a service in the community which people can come in and use freely and will help children learn to read.

“It's also great to have the library because it has my favourite book!”

Cllr Thornber added: “I'm very pleased to be here to officially open the library. I understand that 30 people have already signed up to become members and I'm sure there will be many more in the next few weeks.

“Stanmore Community Library is the first community library in Hampshire and has come about due to a positive partnership between the county and city councils and the Carroll Centre. I would like to thank the city councillors and officers and the manager and trustees here for working so hard to create such a wonderful library that I hope will be here for many years to come.”

The county invested £30,000 in refurbishing the building and buying its books.

Stanmore Primary School pupils were among the first to use the library and acting headteacher Darren Nickerson said the school was keen to work with the library.

He said: “Anything that encourages reading is a good thing and we are planning to bring groups of children down to the library often.”

The previous branch in Wavell Way was one of the smallest in Hampshire, costing £36,000 per year to run with an average of 106 borrowers a month.

Volunteers have been recruited to run the library while it also has a self-service machine.

The new library is open from 10am-2.30pm Monday to Friday except Wednesday when it closes at 5pm.