PUBLIC CONSULTATION ON FUTURE OF LIBRARY SERVICES

A public consultation on the future of library services in Somerset begins on Monday January 29th and will be open to comments for a period of 12 weeks. In the proposals put out for consultation by Somerset County Council, the future of Crewkerne Library comes under threat in Option A, with Option B showing no change in the existing library services for Crewkerne. The first option (A) contains two possible outcomes: A partnership with the local community to maintain a library building in Crewkerne, supported by some funding from Somerset County Council. OR- By delivering outreach library services, such as event activities, small book collections and/or public computer terminals via alternative venues and providing one or more additional mobile library stops.

Somerset Library service records state that the catchment population of Crewkerne is 24,051 which contains small pockets of social isolation and digital exclusion. The annual footfall at Crewkerne Library is recorded as 60,223 with around 2,262 active borrowers. Somerset County Council is looking to save up to £520,000 annually from its library budget. Councillor David Hall, the Cabinet Member for Resources and Economic Development took the decision to go out to consultation on the county council’s proposals for Somerset libraries.

A spokesperson for Somerset County Council said : “We are seeking to put the library service on a sustainable footing for the long-term, at a time when all our council budgets are under enormous pressure. Library services will continue across Somerset whatever the response from this consultation and no decisions will be made until after the consultation concludes on April 22nd and all results are fully analysed. We expect to make a final decision in June/July.”

Copies of the proposals and a questionnaire will be displayed at Crewkerne Library in Falkland Square and at other libraries in Somerset. The proposals can also be viewed and questionnaire completed online www.somerset.gov.uk/librariesconsultation. A consultation event in Crewkerne is scheduled to take place at the Henhayes Centre on Friday March 9th, with hourly sessions at 10 am, 11 am and at 12 noon.

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