REVISED LIBRARY SERVICES CONSULTATION IS CONFUSING AND RAISES CONCERNS ON ACCURACY

The revised Library Services Consultation, issued by Somerset County Council on March 21st, is confusing and raises concerns on the accuracy of the results. In the new consultation documents which the public can respond to online or by obtaining copies from their local library, the options have been re-categorised. The original option to vote for no change to existing library services in Crewkerne has changed from Option B to Option A, raising concerns that in the final recording of the results, which will be carried out by SCC when the public consultation period ends on June 13th, all those who had selected Option B prior to the change, will be added to those who have selected Option B after the change.

Option B now represents a proposal by SCC to provide library services through a partnership with the local community to maintain a library building in Crewkerne, supported by some initial funding from the county council. The previous Option A, part 2 is now Option C, proposing library services by delivering outreach library services, events and activities for children and adults and public internet access and providing an additional mobile library stop in Crewkerne, at least twice a month. This would mean the closure of the current library building.

Somerset County Councillor for the Crewkerne Ward, Mike Best alerted town councillors to the change in the consultation documents at Monday evening’s town council meeting. Councillor Best has queried this with SCC and asked for clarification on how they will be looking at the two consultations and collating the results. Councillor Best also raised concerns that the new document on the Somerset Libraries Consultation was too lengthy at seven pages, and while he was pleased that it now “honed in on an individual centre and not an area,” its over complication was confusing to those who wanted to read it and have their say on the future of their local library.

A spokesperson for Somerset County Council stated: “All the responses received so far count. People who have already responded are encouraged to read the additional information. If they wish to give any further comments, they can email librariesmail@somerset.gov.uk.”

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