A LIBRARY is branching out from its usual role - by going into the retail trade.

Northallerton library has set up a gift shop with a difference after acquiring official Fair Trade status.

And now visitors can enjoy browsing not only through shelves of books, but also through speciality goods at the new Fair Trade and Remarkable Gift Shop in the library foyer.

“Our libraries make every effort to be attractive centres for their communities” said North Yorkshire County Council’s executive member for the library service, Chris Metcalfe.

“As well as supporting users with information and advice, Northallerton has now also decided to branch out into ethical trading to make the library an even more warm and welcoming place to visit.”

The gift shop was launched in appropriate festive style with an opening flourish of carols sung by the Northallerton Methodist Church Choir, along with Christmas stories and a treasure hunt for children. Coun Metcalfe also presented a Fair Trade accreditation certificate to Hambleton’s library team leader Nigel Prince.

The library has set out an extensive range of Fair Trade goods which includes trinket boxes, spectacle cases, bags, bowls, chocolates and beverages. In addition the library is offering a gift range of stationery from recycled materials.

“We hope this opportunity for ethical trading will continue to provide a lively focus for library users in the coming year” said Coun Metcalfe.