NEW libraries backed by volunteers could be created as part of new developments at Barton Park and Botley, according to the county council.

Since Charlbury’s £2.5m library revamp eight months ago, book borrowing has increased by by 20 per cent during the past year, when more than 4,000 extra books were issued.

The library at the community centre in Enstone Road is run in conjunction with 24 volunteers and now county council leaders want to see if the model can be rolled out elsewhere.

Library manager Julie Ward said: “I’m really enjoying looking after this library and feeling part of the community. The fact that this library is under the same roof as a well-equipped sports hall, meeting room and great café means that this space is always lively and there’s always a good reason for customers to visit.”

Cabinet member for cultural services Lorraine Lindsay Gale said Charlbury library was a ‘great model’ for the future of the network in Oxfordshire.

She added: “Libraries are so much more than books. It is our policy to see that they are at the centre of their communities. We are now working to deliver a similar facility at Barton and will be part of the new development at Botley.”

Jill Judson, chairman of The Friends of Charlbury Library, is a volunteer on the monthly rota.

She said: “To have gone from the threat of closure to the establishment of an exciting modern space for our library is a testament to the community’s determination to maintain and develop its facilities.”