Cheers! Pub saves library service

Niki Skaife, of the Mason Arms, with some books ready to lend. (1203131AM)
Niki Skaife, of the Mason Arms, with some books ready to lend. (1203131AM)

A VILLAGE’S library service has been saved after a community-spirited landlady took over from the axed mobile library vans.

The Mason’s Arms in Bishop Monkton now houses 150 books for villagers to borrow.

Landlady Niki Skaife applied to take on the job when she heard mobile library vans would not survive the county council’s budget cuts. Although she had to work hard to persuade the council to let her take on the task, she said it has been worth it.

“I love having the library here and I love going to collect the books. I love reading, so it’s nice to be able to encourage others.

“I know there are a lot of people in the village who would struggle to get to the library in Ripon.”

The pub is also more accessible than the mobile van and has longer opening hours, Niki added, meaning more residents can use the service.

“To begin with some people were wary about coming in to the pub on their own, but it’s starting to pick up now. I hoped it would help business to have the books in here, but I don’t mind if people just come in for the library.”

Niki travels to Ripon library once every two months and fills her car with up to 150 new titles for adults, which then live in a quiet corner of the pool room where readers can browse books without disturbing customers, before recording what they borrow in a log book.

“We’ve got everything from Mills and Boon to horror, and the biographies are going well.”

The pub has also branched out into community cinema with its first ever film screening three weeks ago.