Members of the ‘Save Highbridge Library Campaign’ have this week launched an online survey as it steps up its pressure on Somerset County Council to halt its plan to close the facilities.

The survey is available online at http://bit.ly/hblibsurvey and is open until the end of May.

John Fones, from the Save Highbridge Library camnpaign, said: “The County Council want to close Highbridge Library. We believe Highbridge Library should stay open. We believe its usage is low because its hours have been cut to only 9.5 a week and it has limited facilities. In addition we believe Highbridge has particular needs for a library.”

“Highbridge has high rates of child poverty – 35.66% after housing costs are taken into account. A high proportion of adults have no qualifications – 21.3% in 2011 census. Only 36% of people have access to the internet. There will be a big population increase in the next 10 years, as 1,291 houses are expected to be built with a new Primary school.”

“Access to a library is essential and we believe the library should stay and it should have trained staff.”

“If we are to get the County Council to change its mind we need evidence that people want the library to remain. Please take a few minutes to fill in this survey. To do so, just put a mark in the box alongside any statement that applies.”

The campaign team visited the Youth Club Bus on Friday to talk to the young people of Highbridge.

John, a lecturer in Computer Science and IT at Bridgwater and Taunton College, added: “We know that robotics and automation are changing the employment and training landscape and that many of our young people will be looking for training and work in industries that probably don’t even exist yet. The key to employment as we move into our 21st century careers will be flexibility and learning new technologies.”

“The best prepared young people will be those who have the ability to get online and find courses tailored to their changing needs. Many of these courses already demand a high level of not only functional but also technical literacy. If we can’t read this stuff, then we can’t access the training – and we definitely can’t access the careers.”

“The generation of young people coming through our primary and secondary schools now have got to be prepared to train and retrain several times in their working lives and this will often mean reading up on the latest technologies from online courses.”

“I have to train my students to use the library well and this is because so many of them have lost the habit of using libraries and turning that information from online sources into knowledge.”

“We desperately need to hold on to and improve our library service here in Highbridge – for the whole community – but especially for our young people.”

The Save Highbridge Library Campaign is available online at http://bit.ly/hblibsurvey.