Honley Library, opened in 1936, was built with funds donated by the Scottish-American philanthropist, Andrew Carnegie. Even before this there had been a long history of enthusiasm for reading by Honley people; records show that the ‘Honley Book Club’, founded in 1750 and continuing until 1823, was the earliest private circulating library in the Huddersfield district. The building, now so much more than the books it contains, continues to be an iconic and central part of Honley village life. However, it was very nearly lost to the community.
The Friends of Honley Library (FoHL) group was created in 2013 in response to the news that the library was heading towards closure as a result of the financial constraints being faced by Kirklees Council. The group campaigned to keep the service running and, as financial cuts continued, became increasingly involved in the recruitment of volunteers from within the community to ensure that a much needed service could be maintained.
By 2017, and with further pressures on local government finances, the FoHL submitted an expression of interest in taking over the Honley Library building via a Community Asset Transfer (CAT) and duly approached the Holme Valley Parish Council (HVPC) for support with this. Over the following years the FoHL Management Group worked alongside the HVPC to put together a comprehensive Business Plan necessitating the completion of numerous strategy and policy documents. These then formed the basis not only for the CAT process but also contributed to an application to the Charities Commission for a change in status.
As Honley Library moves forward into a new era the FoHL group have built up a strong team of local people with a wide range of talents and a commitment to offering many services that sit alongside those of several other local organisations. Volunteers give their time to provide strategic support, promotional work, fund-raising, organising events and activities and working alongside staff from KLS to provide the core library services.
With such a valuable resource now preserved for our village, FoHL are committed to promoting it as a Community Library to support activities and events that contribute towards learning and development for local people. New volunteers are always welcome; if you think you may be interested in joining us, please follow the links to learn more.