A village library that “means an awful lot to residents and sits at the heart of the community” was re-opened after a £200,000 refurbishment today (Wednesday).

Bushey Library has been open to the public since the end of July but was only officially unveiled this afternoon.

Building work meant the Sparrows Herne facility, which has existed in the village for 75 years, was closed for three months this summer while renovations took place.

Extensions have increased the building’s capacity by almost 20 per cent and it now contains some 21,000 books, CDs and DVDs, as well as six new PCs.

County council cuts meant libraries across Hertfordshire had their opening times slashed earlier this year, with Bushey being reduced by 20 hours a week.

But Councillor Chris Hayward (Conservative), executive member for libraries, defended the move.

He said: “We remain proud that we haven’t closed a single library in the county. I think people have been sympathetic to us cutting the opening hours - it is more important to them that we keep libraries open.

“We see libraries as fundamentally important and Bushey Library is an example of the fact we are investing in them.”

Bushey’s literary hub was visited on 75,000 occasions last year, and Bushey councillor Seamus Quilty believes the refurbishment has provided a much needed new look to an important facility.

The Conservative politician, who also sits on Hertfordshire County Council, said: “I am delighted – it means a great deal to the people of Bushey. These facilities shape the lives of children when they are young and they will grow up to be the future of the village, so this is an important place.”