January 4, 2011
your say about local library funding in Burnham-On-Sea today
in Burnham-On-Sea and Highbridge are today being invited to have
their say about controversial plans by Somerset County Council
to withdraw funding for Highbridge Library.
The council is holding a public consultation exhibition at Burnham's
Princess Theatre in Princess Street today (Tuesday, January 4th)
from 11am-2pm when residents will be able to air their views about
the proposals for the library to be overseen by community volunteers.
"Members of the public are invited to drop-in anytime to
the session to get more information, speak to staff, and give
their views on the proposals. We expect that these sessions should
take no longer than 20 or 30 minutes of people's time," County
Council spokeswoman Jan Hookings told Burnham-On-Sea.com.
Burnham-On-Sea.com reported last
month that Highbridge Library, pictured, is on a hit list
of 20 Somerset libraries which the council wants to reduce funding
The proposed funding withdrawal is part of the council's £75million
cost cutting exercise across all its services. The library cut-backs
would deliver a 25% saving on the current Somerset libraries budget
of £5.4 million.
For those libraries where volunteers do take over, the council
will offer advice and co-ordination and may also be able to support
some IT costs.
The council has confirmed that funding for Burnham-On-Sea Library
is safe for now, although it added that "there is potential
for co-locating other public services at the library."
Cllr Christine Lawrence, who is responsible for community services,
said: "These are extremely difficult financial times and,
unfortunately, tough decisions have been made in all areas of
council business, from roads to recycling and including libraries.
These proposals would create a library service that is fit to
face the future, making use of new technology and with the potential
to work closely with local communities."
The council has previously said that Highbridge Library is among
the county's worst performing libraries by footfall, making it
difficult to sustain.
The council's consultation will close on 14th January and the
feedback will be reported to the 2nd February meeting of the County
Council's Cabinet, which is due to recommend whether these proposals
should be agreed by Full Council on 16th February.