Herefordshire libraries would 'cease to exist' under new proposals

Herefordshire libraries would 'cease to exist' under new proposals

All but one of Herefordshire’s main libraries are marked for closure or self service under the local authorities latest proposals.

The Hereford Times has reported that community libraries would have to find their own funding for administration and support services in the Herefordshire Council plan, which goes further than the savings proposed for libraries in 2013.

Hereford library and the Hereford Centre customer service hub  would stay as the ‘most used’ facilities but libraries in Leominster, Ross-on-Wye, and Belmont (Hereford) would be ‘withdrawn’ and Bromyard, Kington and Ledbury would have ‘self service’ libraries but lose their customer services.

In a statement, a spokesperson for the council said: “At this stage in our budget preparations, the proposals around libraries and customer service centres etc are just that, proposals. They are one part of a broader set of questions included in the ongoing budget consultation launched last week.”

The spokesperson also called on Herefordshire residents to respond to the budget consultations and said the council 'welcomed everyone's thoughts'.

However, John Hitchin, secretary to Hereford Library Users Group (HLUG), told the newspaper that the plan meant the county’s library service would “ virtually cease to exist”.

"Expect a reduction in stock purchases and the provision of expert staff,” he said.

Under the proposals, the library delivery service for house bound residents would be retained, but the school library service is expected to become self-funding.