A COUPLE from Shepton Mallet have written a picture book about the successful campaign to keep the town’s library in Market Place. 

Rob and Helen Heaton’s have finished writing The Town that Saved its Library and given local children to chance to illustrate the book about the campaign to protect the library’s place in the town centre.

Shepton Mallet Library was set to be moved away from 2 Market Place after Somerset County Council published a report detailing recommendations for the future of its library services in October 2018.

The report recommended that the council retain 19 of its libraries, while 15 others would be developed into community library partnerships that would see local groups support the buildings in partnership with County Hall.

Although the council planned to retain Shepton Mallet Library, the facility was likely going to move to a new location to be determined the following year.

After a public campaign to keep the library in its current location – supported by Glastonbury Festival founder Michael Eavis – the county council came to an agreement with Shepton Mallet Town Council and the 7 Starlings Community Interest Company to agree a new model for the library.

Plans to give the library a “substantial makeover” were unveiled last January, and the revamped facility re-opened to the public in June with longer opening hours.

Somerset County Gazette: An artist's impression of the Shepton Mallet Library renovation. Picture: Somerset County CouncilAn artist's impression of the Shepton Mallet Library renovation. Picture: Somerset County Council

The new book will launch in November at Literally Shepton, the town's annual literary festival. 

Co-author Helen said: “The book is going to special as its illustrations will be done by the children of Shepton Mallet and the surrounding villages.

“As this book will be self-published, we will be launching a crowdfunder in March 2022 where people can order copies of the book (as well as gain some extra rewards).

“All costs will be going towards the publishing and not the authors.

“We feel that the story of the Shepton Mallet library is a special and important one, and we want the legacy of the people and community that fought so hard to keep it open and in the Market Place to be remembered by the coming generations.”  

Rob and Helen have asked local people to encourage their children to draw pictures for the book; pledge some money towards their Kickstarter campaign if they can, like and share their Facebook page, and make use of the library to protect its future.

Rob and Helen’s Kickstarter campaign is due to launch today (Monday, March 21).

For more information, visit www.kickstarter.com/projects/1298336866/the-town-that-saved-its-library/.