A VILLAGE library will get its first refurbishment in 25 years after villagers raised £6,000.

Kennington Library will get new carpets, a new, smaller counter to create more space for readers and shelving will be re-arranged.

The money has been raised by the Friends of Kennington Library (FOKL), who have been fundraising to keep the library open since it lost its council funding.

The group relies on volunteers to help run the library but said they do not stay long enough. It is hoped the makeover will encourage volunteers to stay for longer and see more children using the facility.

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Library manager Dominique Henderson said: “It is great that the friends have been able to do it, it will have a great benefit to the community.”

The Friends raise £3,500 a year to employ part-time staff for four-and-a-half hours a week and rely on volunteers to work seven-and-a-half hours a week.

Kennington county councillor Bob Johnston donated £1,500 from his Big Society fund, given to all councillors, for the works.

The regular library user said: “This will keep Kennington Library in business.

“The library is heavily used. People could go to a library in Oxford or Abingdon but they would far rather go to their local library.”

Chairwoman Sylvia Vetta said the building had not had major investment for 25 years.

Oxfordshire County Council has offered to provide free labour for the refurbishment. The library will close from February 16 to 20 for the work to be done.

Ms Vetta said: “This work is long overdue.

“Our chance of keeping volunteers is much better if it is a decent library.”

The library also hosts the Small World Nursery once a week, and Ms Vetta said the revamp would make more space for the children.

She said: “We will have plenty of room which is great because families love to stay with their kids. It will be really lovely.

“Libraries like ours are so good at getting kids to love books, the effect they have is huge.”

The nursery donated £1,000 for the works and FOKL raised the rest with fundraising events and membership fees.

President of the Friends and children’s illustrator Korky Paul, creator of Winnie the Witch, said: “This is absolutely great news.

“It is such a community that library, they have all sorts of events there.”

The North Oxford resident added: “If a place is looking a bit tired, it is sometimes charming and sometimes not. This will hopefully encourage more people to come through the door and use the library’s brilliant collection.”

The county council announced plans to cut £2m from 20 out of 43 county libraries in 2010.

It is also planning to halve staff funding for 21 libraries from April this year.

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