Published: November 2, 2010
Can boost in Highbridge library's hours rescue it from closure?

Town councillors have this week called for the opening hours of closure-threatened Highbridge Library to be increased in a bid to boost usage and rescue it from potential closure. was first to report last month that the library in Market Street, pictured, is being considered for closure by Somerset County Council as part of its multi-million pound budget cuts.

But Cllr Janet Keen has devised a plan to try and prevent the closure. She explained at Monday's town council meeting: "Highbridge Library is being considered for closure partly due to low numbers of users, but I feel the opening hours could be the main reason why it is so little used."

"It is open on just two half days a week and all day Thursday, except lunchtime."

"The decreased hours are having a spiral effect of reducing the usage, thus inadvertently providing the perfect excuse for closure."

She added: "Highbridge needs its library for many reasons, not only leisure reading, and I suggest that as a pilot the opening hours be increased for a period of three months and extensive advertising done to give potential users this information, then analyse the results before any decision is taken about its future."

The proposal was considered by town councillors, who voted unanimously in support of the proposal. Somerset County Council is to be approached on the idea.

Although the funding of libraries was considered by members of the County Council's Cabinet at a meeting in Taunton on Monday (November 1st) no final decision was taken on the future of Highbridge Library.

Council spokeswoman Jan Hookings told "We are still consulting on the various options for libraries such as Highbridge."


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