Aldeburgh: Ambitious blueprint revealed to save future of library

VOLUNTEERS behind an ambitious vision to save their town’s library have outlined their blueprint to members of the community.

Around 100 people turned out to hear about the plans, which have been put forward by the Aldeburgh Library steering group.

Chairman Clive Fox said the current situation was a great opportunity for the town to have more control – but made it clear they did not feel the county council should be abandoning its responsibilities.

The authority is trying to save money and has said 29 libraries will close in April next year, unless members of the community take them on.

The meeting on Thursday night, held at the parish church, heard about Aldeburgh’s proposal, which will soon be handed to the county council. The steering group think it will cost between �40,000 and �45,000 a year to run the library, which is in Victoria Road, in an area known as Triangle Wood.

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Mr Fox said: “Our vision is of a thriving knowledge hub at the heart of the Aldeburgh community in which reading, learning and sharing knowledge can help to shape our future well being.

“Our aim therefore is to secure the future of the present library service and develop it progressively into a wider knowledge hub based at Triangle Wood but linked to wider community facilities and services in the area.”

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He said the library would be run by some form of not-for-profit organisation which would be registered as a charity and made up of members from the local area.

It would still be based at the Triangle Wood building but there is a need for improvements around energy efficiency and the heating system, Mr Fox added.

The aim is to keep the free book lending service and the inter loan library service, which would still be the responsibility of the county council. It is also hoped to continue the home library service, CD and DVD loans and internet access.

The group would also like to offer extra services including lifelong learning classes, children’s sessions in partnership with the primary school, specialist collections of music and literature, develop a business hub, offer meeting rooms and possibly look into lending e-books.

Although there would be some full-time staff, a lot of workers would have to be volunteers. It is expected that some of the money to run the library would have to come from local authorities but the rest would be generated through retail sales, charging for DVD and CD loans, refreshments and fines.

It is also hoped to establish a “Friends of Aldeburgh Library” group.

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