Somerset backtracks on library closures

Somerset backtracks on library closures

Nearly half of the 20 libraries threatened with closure in Somerset could now be saved, according to a new proposal going before councillors next month.

A year’s grace has also been proposed for a further five threatened libraries, putting just six at risk of closure in the current year, instead of 20, as first proposed.

Council Leader Ken Maddock said: “We have listened to what people said and put our residents’ views at the heart of our decision making. We carried out a hugely effective public consultation and the overwhelming message was that people understood the savings needed but wanted us to spread the cuts more evenly – that’s what we’re looking to do.”

However the campaigners of Save Somerset Libraries said that while they welcomed the news that the council was listening to residents' concerns, 11 of 34 libraries could still be closed and they did not believe it was necessary.

"Friends of Glastonbury Library have submitted a costed proposal to Somerset County Council on January 13th, which was based on Somerset County Council's figures," the campaigners said. "This proposal would enable all Somerset Libraries to remain open, with a reduction in services, preserving the library infrastructure so it can be built up again when the economy recovers."