Shropshire Star

Pop-up stall taking book returns as hunt for new Whitchurch Library premises continues

Readers who still have books on loan from Whitchurch Library - closed after the discovery of dangerous concrete - can return their items at a pop-up stall in the town’s market hall on Friday mornings.

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A library user returns a book to Hazel Price and Ronni Stirton

Staff from the library will be on hand from 9am until midday on Fridays to take back books from people who have been affected by the branch’s emergency closure due to structural issues at its base in Whitchurch Civic Centre.

Whitchurch Civic Centre remains closed as engineers have found that dangerous reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC) exists across the majority of the building.

Robert Macey, Shropshire Council’s cabinet member for culture and digital, said: “I am pleased that we have found a short-term solution for people who want to return items to the library.

Robert Macey with Hazel Price and Ronni Stirton at the stall

"I know our library staff are disappointed and frustrated that they cannot provide the full service to customers, but they too are glad to have the stall where they can catch up with some regular friendly faces and take books back in.

“The closure of the civic centre and the effect it had had on our library is frustrating for everyone in the community, but safety has to be at the forefront of any decisions we make. We are bound by the survey findings, and no-one can or should be blamed for the temporary loss of the library service in town.

“Shropshire Council has already committed to retaining the library and registrars office in Whitchurch, and is now looking to urgently relocate these services to a new location in the town centre. This is a complex process and must take into account planning regulations, property services and accessibility, among other matters.

“We are working hard to move the situation on, and are keen to restore our services in the town. Our libraries are important community hubs and we know how important they are.”

Local Shropshire councillors Peggy Mullock, Tom Biggins and Gerald Dakin also welcomed the opening of the market stall, saying it re-established contact with the service users and friendly faces that make the most of the facilities.

Whitchurch Library manager Ronni Stirton added: “We are pleased we have been able to reorganise our regular Rhyme Time, digital support and Books Aloud sessions, thanks to Whitchurch CE Infant and Nursery Academy, Whitchurch Heritage Centre and St Alkmund’s Church. St John’s Methodist Church is also hosting one of our regular reading groups and the community has rallied around to help.”

Anyone wanting information about Whitchurch Library’s re-organised events can go online to for all the latest updates.

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