There are changes looming at one of Longridge’s major community assets - its library.
Last week, its popular manager of almost 12 years, Audrey Taylor, announced that she is to retire at the end of this month.
She told the News: “I’ll be saying goodbye to staff and customers on Saturday, May 28. It will be a sad day - I feel I’m leaving a family in all my brilliant customers, and for the future, I doubt I will be replaced until we know what is going to happen to the library.”
The central town complex is one of six local public buildings, including Mellor Library, threatened with closure under Lancashire County Council’s stringent cost-cutting plans.
The now closed Alston Hall College has already been shut and Audrey says closing Longridge would be devastating for the community.
She said: “It could be closed or its use radically changed but, whatever happens, it will always be my library, customers have become my friends, the children call me Auntie Audrey, I’ll come back as a customer... so you see I won’t lose touch!”
But she looks back with warm affection on the years since returning to her home county to continue training as a librarian after being a teacher.
Hailing from Blackburn and educated at St Wilfrid’s CE School there, she completed her teacher training in Bristol, taught first in Cambridgeshire, then changed direction to join its library service and eventually returned to Lancashire and met partner David at a school reunion.
She discovered the Longridge Library job on the internet, loved the look of the town, did some more training for two weeks in Leyland and followed her predecessor, Sheila Woodburn, into the job.
Since then Audrey has seen the library’s major £300,000 refurbishment take place, as well as the simplicity of easily-moveable book shelves, a plasma screen for notices and the continuation of its many events for adults and children in the spacious complex.
She hopes that on her last morning, customers and friends will “come into the library to say adieu, and also show their support for my marvellous staff”.