A CHARITY has made full use of the pandemic by refurbishing a library so that it will be a place which excites and inspires children to become lifelong readers when it reopens when restrictions are lifted on April 12.

About £40,000 has been spent on Colburn’s library which will also feature a community space that will host a variety of events appealing to all age ranges, from a coding club for younger people to a Knit and Natter gathering for those a little older.

The refurbishment has been carried out by the charity Catterick, Colburn and Richmond Community Libraries (CRAACL) which was formed in 2017 to take on the running of the libraries when they were threatened with closure by the county council.

“We’ve tried to make a welcoming space which can be used for a wide range of activities and clubs for all ages,” said Sue Young, who is CRAACL’s lead trustee for Colburn. “We hope that for children, it will excite and inspire them to become lifelong readers and learners, while groups for older age adults could assist in reducing depression and combatting loneliness.

“As well as all the educational benefits of libraries, they are recognised as safe spaces and so they can help with mental health, and not everyone in Colburn has access to the latest technology, so the PCs are of great use for employment purposes as well as homework.”

About £16,000 has been spent completely renewing the children’s library, and North Yorkshire County Council has spent £5,000 on new books.

The building, in Broadway, has been recarpeted throughout, energy efficient windows have been installed and the computer suite has been relocated to make it more user-friendly.

The project has been half funded by Richmondshire District Council, which has a community office in the library, while the volunteers of CRACCL, which has already refurbished its other two libraries, launched themselves into fund raising.

It was carried out after consultation with the local community which said it wanted more activities in the library, along with refreshments.

Plans are now being made to run a pre-school group and for jigsaw and arts and crafts clubs for adults, and the volunteers are hoping to introduce refreshments on an experimental basis.

It is hoped that the library will reopen on Monday, April 12, as part of the next stage in the lifting of lockdown.