A NEW Friends group for Keighley Library has already attracted more than 30 members.

The group has been set up to support the library as it faces the challenges of public spending cuts and calls to expand its services.

Members hope to work closely with library staff and Bradford Council bosses on events, activities, and efforts to more users.

The group was launched last month with a walk from Church Green to the library in memory of the late historian and reference librarian Ian Dewhirst.

Friends chairman Jane Lee said there had been an “amazing” response to both the walk and the initial call for Friends members.

She said: “We walked in the pouring rain and inside we each made our own silent remembrance of Ian Dewhirst, surely the library’s best friend!”

The Friends of Keighley’s Carnegie Library formally adopted a constitution on October 16 and will hold its first meeting for the public of November 15.

Jane Lee stressed the group was non-political, and entirely separate to a campaign – led by staff union Unite – to protest at cuts to Bradford Council’s Libraries Service.

She said: “Our aim is to support the library and its staff, to increase participation in the library as it exists at present, and help to develop new income streams.

“The Friends will concentrate all our efforts on establishing a partnership with Bradford Council so that together we can sustain and enhance provision of library services now and into the future.”

“Membership is open to anyone who wants to support the library.

“There are informal drop-in sessions at 10am every Wednesday morning in the coffee area of the library for anyone who wants to join, help, or just find out what’s been done, what’s being done and what’s still to do.”

Jane said the Friends’ initial 34 members come from all walks of life and all ages. She added: “There are people who use the library, whose children use the library, disabled people, and people with special needs children.”

Local people wishing to join or support the Friends are invited to go along to the first meeting on November 15 at 6pm, upstairs in the Local Studies Library.

The group will form an action committee, fill various roles activities, and look at what activities to get involved in.

The Friends hope to eventually become the council’s ‘preferred partner’ when discussing Keighley Library’s future.

Regular updates will be put on the Friends’ noticeboard in the library foyer, and its Facebook page entitled out our Facebook page, Save Keighley’s Carnegie Library - Ian Dewhirst Memorial.