BEST-SELLING author Philippa Gregory will formally open a newly launched community library later this month.

The author of historical novels including The Other Boleyn Girl and The White Queen will be visiting The Globe, Stokesley on June 15 to officially open the new venture.

It is one of 21 libraries in North Yorkshire that was handed over to the community in spring this year, after the county council announced it could no longer afford to operate them due to budget cuts.

The library is now in operation under its new name The Globe Stokesley Community Library – and is being run as a charitable trust. Dozens of volunteers signed up to help staff the library, and have all now undergone training. Stokesley Town Council is funding a professional library manager, Jane Hall, to run the venture and manage its resources and staffing.

Ms Hall, said: “The library is a hub that will be well used for community activities as well as the borrowing of books and reading for people young and old.

“The community kicked into action when there was a real fear that the library would shut, and now it has been saved there is tremendous optimism.

“The formal opening on June 15 by such a distinguished author will mark an important milestone."

Philippa Gregory, who lives on a farm near Stokesley said: “I am a great supporter of libraries – I spent a lot of time in them as a child and, in later life, they have been an essential resource in my academic and working life.

“In particular, they are especially important for our children who may not have space, resources or encouragement at home. They provide a doorway to a whole world and we should be doing everything we can to protect culture, even during austere and difficult times.”

The youngest member of the library, seven-month-old Jenson Pollitt, son of Kate and Simon Pollitt, will be at the launch with his mum.

The oldest member is 98-year-old Marjorie Little. She said: “Reading takes me into another world if you have an imagination. It is marvellous that volunteers are keeping the library going, and I take my hat off to them. I think it is very generous.”

Kate Pollitt signed herself and Jenson up when the campaign to keep the library open was in full swing. She said: “I was on maternity leave when I saw the publicity that our local library needed support in order to stay open. Being a primary school teacher, I knew just how important reading was to young minds and was sad at the thought of losing this valuable resource in our own town.

“I went straight to the library, Jenson was fast asleep in his pram and only a few weeks old, and signed us both up.

“Reading stories, adventures and mind-blowing facts, gives our children a key - a key that unlocks different worlds of awe, wonder and thought.”