The Friends of St Just Library was first set up in 2014 to show support for the library in the face of plans to reduce library opening hours. Since then we have been involved in many aspects of campaigning including organising petitions and encouraging a mass take-out of books. We also started to create a database of volunteers willing to work in the library, in the hope that these might be able to be used to supplement the staff, to prevent further loss of hours.
In 2015, Cornwall Council, as a result of immense budgetary pressures, announced plans to devolve Cornish local library management to local councils and community groups, whilst still preserving the central library service. The Friends conducted a survey throughout the community to get a clear picture of local residents' preferences regarding future library location, services, opening hours etc. Read our report on the survey responses.
In November 2016 the Friends achieved charitable status for a Charitable Incorporated Organisation called St Just Community Library and worked on a potential plan to create a community library in St Just as this looked, at the time, as if it would be the only way to sustain our library service. We have been involved in fundraising, and have used some of the money to buy chairs and equipment to enable us to organise regular events in the library such as talks by local authors. In addition, we have been able to get volunteers into the library — there is now a volunteer present, helping the wonderful staff, each day the library is open.
Our priority has always been to find a way to maintain our library service, and we were thus delighted when, in 2018, St Just Town Council decided they would be willing to take on the running of the library — we hope that their plan to locate the Town Council within the current library building will be a way to ensure the sustainability of the library. The Friends will continue to offer whatever support we can to make sure our lovely library can fulfil its vital role at the heart of our community.