Oxfordshire scraps December library cuts

Oxfordshire scraps December library cuts

Oxfordshire council has confirmed it will not withdraw funding from libraries at the end of this year.

Under plans unveiled in 2010, 20 libraries in the county were due to lose all funding at the end of December. While a fresh consultation has now begun, there had hitherto been no firm undertaking that the budget cuts would not still be going ahead.

However councillor Judith Heathcoat, responsible for libraries, has now confirmed to the Oxford Mail the money will not be withdrawn. Heathcoat stated that the service "will not be required in 2011-2012 to make any other savings than those which can be delivered primarily through the introduction of self service into a number of major town libraries.”

She added: "As no decisions have been made to date nor will they be made now until the late autumn, I can confirm that there is no longer a deadline of December 31, 2011, for withdrawal of funding from any library.”

Judith Wardle, chairman of Save Oxfordshire's Libraries, said: "It is good news in that it gives us clear information instead of us having to guess what was going on. It does not change what might happen in future financial years, but until the council have written their consultation document, we don't know what is even on the table. This gives people a bit of breathing space."

Oxfordshire has been the site of a vigorous anti-closure campaign, with author Philip Pullman among its most outspoken supporters.