COUNTY COUNCIL RECOMMENDS NO CHANGE TO LIBRARY SERVICES IN CREWKERNE

Somerset County Council has recommended no change to library services in Crewkerne. Proposed options for each of Somerset’s 34 libraries were set out in the consultation process which ended in June. Crewkerne received the fourth highest number of responses to its library services, in the county. Strong views were expressed that the library should stay open and be funded by Somerset County Council and that vital services would be lost if the library was delivered via a mobile library and the choice and availability of books would be diminished. It was also thought that children and working people would be disadvantaged by a mobile service due to lack of ability and opportunity to access the service.

Praise was expressed for the current staff and it was thought that unpaid staff would impact on the quality of service delivery. Doubts on the ongoing availability of volunteers to run the library under a Community Library Partnership were expressed, as it was stated that many local community organisations in the town already rely on volunteers and supply of volunteers in Crewkerne was therefore limited. The loss of a library in Crewkerne would also impact on the vibrancy and prosperity of the town and as public transport was poor in the area, those without independent transport would struggle to access alternative provision of the library building, if it were to close.

In phase 1 of the consultation 44.7% strongly agreed with no change to library services in Crewkerne, while in phase 2, the percentage for no change rose significantly to 89.1%. 19 libraries including Crewkerne, Chard and Ilminster in Area 5 have been recommended to remain open in a report unveiled today by Somerset County Council. 15 other libraries across Somerset, including South Petherton will be invited to submit a community library partnership expression of interest by noon on November 15th. The recommendations will be put to the Cabinet at Somerset County Council who are expected to make a final decision on November 5th.

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