LIBRARY UNDER THREAT OF CLOSURE IN COUNTY COUNCIL’S PROPOSALS

Crewkerne Library is under threat of closure in proposals put forward by Somerset County Council. In the public consultation, which is still open for comments, there are two options suggested for library services in Crewkerne. In part 1 of Option A, the proposal is for a partnership with the local community to maintain a library building in Crewkerne, supported by some funding from Somerset County Council. Part 2 of Option A proposes 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. Option B, proposes no change in existing library services in Crewkerne. Somerset County Council have requested a meeting with Crewkerne Town Council to discuss Option A, which could indicate that they already have a preferred option for library services in the town.

Crewkerne Library in Falkland Square has copies of the proposals and the questionnaire. The proposals can also be viewed and the questionnaire completed online at www.somerset.gov.uk/librariesconsultation
Somerset County Council are holding a public consultation event at Henhayes Community Centre on Friday March 9th from 10 am until 12 noon, where local residents can ask questions on the future of Crewkerne Library and library services in the town. A spokesperson for Somerset County Council has stated: “No decisions will be made until after the public consultation concludes on April 22nd and all results are fully analysed. We expect to make a final decision in June/July this year.”

No major changes or options are proposed for Chard Library but library buildings in Ilminster and in Martock, which are also registered in Area 5 of Somerset, are under threat of closure, with similar options offered in the public consultation. According to a statement put out by Somerset County Council: “Crewkerne and Ilminster and the surrounding rural areas are nearer to Yeovil and Taunton, with respective driving times of approximately 15 to 20 minutes. Less significant areas of deprivation also exist in Crewkerne and Ilton, in the rural north of the area.”

Crewkerne is recorded as having a higher proportion of older people than the average for Somerset and the educational attainment and school readiness also tends to be higher in the rural parts of the area with pockets of low attainment in Chard and Crewkerne and ‘small pockets’ of social isolation and digital exclusion in Crewkerne. The catchment area population of Crewkerne is recorded as 24,051.

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