St James Library

Doddridge Centre Bid to Relocate, Reinstate and Reinvigorate the Lending Facility in St James

On March 31st 2022 the Doddridge Centre submitted a business plan as part of a bid to take over the running of St James Library as community-run lending facility.

In 2018 local authority budget cuts meant that there would be library closures if 21 of the county’s libraries could not be handed over to communities or other organisations to run them. St James was one of these 21 and had previously survived a closure threat in 2011 but was saved after a vigorous campaign by local people that inspired support across the town and led to the saving of all libraries under threat in the county.

Doddridge Centre submitted a robust and very competitive bid to run the library facility in 2019 but was unfortunate to be turned down in favour of a previous applicant. Sadly, that applicant never got the project off the ground then COVID intervened, the library was stripped of its books and remains closed.

The previous applicant has since discontinued its involvement with the library and West Northants Council re-opened the bidding process in order to find someone to run the facility with support from WNC.

It made perfect sense for us to apply again to run this important community facility and bring it back to life. As previously, our bid is about moving the library from its present location to just down the road to Doddridge Centre. Whilst the current location created a really wonderful atmosphere, it also limited the potential because of its size and no expansion was possible. Moving to Doddridge Centre’s Lewis Hall will enable us to provide a host of ancillary facilities and opportunities for the community with the library lending facility at its heart.

We decided early on that we would need the support of our community and elected council representatives who serve the St James area across two divisions; Sixfields and Dallington Spencer. We have been humbled by the support of both.

We asked to meet with all six representatives and sent out invitations to them to meet with our Centre Director Rachel Bott. Five of them came along and have all wholeheartedly pledged their support for our initiative as they can see the real value that it will bring to the community.

We sincerely thank those Councillors who responded to our call and for their continued support of Doddridge Centre as the community resource. You can read their words of support below;