RENOWNED author Anne Fine joined campaigners as they renewed their efforts to save Darlington’s Crown Street Library on Thursday.

With the help of the Madame Doubtfire creator, the Friends of Darlington Libraries took to the streets to canvass the views of the public.

The group has launched a survey to gather opinions about the future of the library service, after Darlington Borough Council postponed its decision to close the historic listed building and move its resources to the nearby Dolphin Centre.

Representatives from the Friends group believe the delayed decision represents a fresh opportunity to resist the authority’s contentious plans, which were set aside in September in light of a potential judicial review and issues around land ownership.

With a fresh decision expected later this year, the council is pressing ahead with its plans by holding a consultation into how the library could look once moved into the Dolphin Centre.

The council argues that the move will save money, and also allow the library service to reach a new audience.

Despite the recent developments, the Friends group remain hopeful that their campaign could make a difference.

Treasurer Paul Howell said: “We don’t feel that the authority’s original consultation was a proper one and we know they have to go back and make a new decision.

“That decision is up for grabs and we want to use this survey to better inform the debate.”

Anne Fine backed the campaign group’s renewed efforts and said: “This is one of the most important decisions that will be made for Darlington.

“The community deserves a proper library, not just an annexe in a leisure centre.

“Crown Street Library is a custom built building given in trust and when they do away with it, they are telling future generations that the authority cannot be trusted to keep and value such gifts.”

She added: “I know that I could never have done anything without my local libraries.

“They were not in a cramped annexe of a leisure centre but had space and quiet to work.

“When people are not rolling in money, it is extremely important that they have somewhere to go, somewhere that gives them a purpose and a reason to get out of the house.

“This is the sort of building that was built to serve a purpose, it is educational and not just for show.

“It shows something about how councillors view this town if they are willing to do away with an impressive, historical, attractive building like this.

“They will regret this for years.”

To complete the Friends’ survey, visit

Feedback on DBC’s consultation can be submitted at