THE future of Summertown's library has been secured for generations to come after the community 'took a stand against savage cuts' and raised £90,000 in six years.

The South Parade hub was under threat of closure in 2011 before high-profile writers including Colin Dexter and Philip Pullman starred in a campaign to save it from county council cuts.

A six-year fundraising campaign to renovate and protect it for future generations has finally reached its target and work will begin in the summer.

The new-look library will have movable bookshelves to create a space for up to 80 people, an expanded children's section overlooking the Turrill Sculpture Garden and upgraded computers.

The frontage will also be revamped – partly paid for by Oxfordshire County Council – and the inside will be redecorated in a similar fashion to the new Oxfordshire County Library at the Westgate Centre.

Friends of Summertown Library chairman Marcus Ferrar said: "We started as a protest group in 2011 but after it was saved we realised there was no public money for the renovation, which was much needed.

"With the cuts to social care and other areas we accepted we couldn't claim to have a prior claim for funding for the library."

Over the past six years the community has held talks, Q&A sessions and worked with local businesses to gradually move close to the £90,000 target.

Mr Ferrar said: "The talks we organised started to become very popular and it was clear there was a strong feeling about the library.

"More people have used the library in recent years through these events and we want that to continue – after the renovation I'm confident the footfall will further increase."

The former Reuters foreign correspondent said the group's honorary president Colin Dexter played a key role in the campaign to save the library but that he was yet to be approached about a potential memorial to the Inspector Morse author as part of the refurbishment.

Another key ally in the fight to save the library in 2011 was bestselling author Philip Pullman, whose speech helped dissuade the county council from removing funding from 20 of its 43 libraries.

The award-winning His Dark Materials author said: "I'm delighted to hear they've been successful – they weren't the only library under threat and I hope the others have managed as well.

"The library is one of the great beacons of civilisation – if I move somewhere new the first thing I do is go to the library and sign up.

"It's a sign that a place is civilised, and closing or allowing them to close is definitely a bad thing."

However Mr Pullman also pointed out that Summertown was a wealthy area and not everywhere could 'perform a rescue mission'. He called on more support for libraries across the city.

He said: "I'm concerned about areas such as Blackbird Leys: we need to look at the wider picture on libraries before giving three cheers, two cheers or even one cheer to the council."

No public libraries have been closed by the council but many now have a mix of volunteers and council staff.

Summertown author Tim Pears, who helped organise fundraising events, praised local people for taking a stand against cuts.

He said: "This is a tremendous achievement of which the fundraising committee should be very proud – a great stand in this age of austerity and savage cuts in the public realm.

"Libraries are the hidden jewels of our culture. Every single person has access to them.

"The committee have saved the library in Summertown for this community, for people of all ages and for those yet to be born."

Oxfordshire County Council confirmed it would be putting money towards the library's frontage and praised the 'tremendous' fundraising effort.

Spokesman Paul Smith said: "The people of Summertown are a prime example of the thriving communities up and down Oxfordshire, showing drive, passion and dedication for their communities and working hand in hand with the council to deliver much valued services, including libraries." The library revamp is due to start in the coming weeks and the new library is hoped to launch by the end of September.