Ipswich: Residents pledge to fight for Rosehill Library

IPSWICH: Concerned town residents have pledged to join forces and save a much-loved library service.

Tensions and passions ran high as library users, teachers, children and elderly residents met to discuss the future of Rosehill Library last night - and the consensus was that this treasured service must be saved at all costs.

They confronted Lynda Farnworth, the county council’s area manager for libraries, and pleaded for the council to reconsider its decision to axe public funding.

The meeting, chaired by Ipswich Councillor Chris Stewart, was an opportunity for those interested in running the library as a community facilitiy to express their interest.

However, one resident said that it was not feasible for a community group to find the �40,000 needed to run the Tomline Road library each year.

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Another said: “By getting rid of our libraries we will descend back into the Victorian era and as far as I am concerned I live in the 21st century.

“We need to unite in fighting for our libraries, we can’t be defeated on this.”

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The meeting was held at Alan Road Methodist Church and was attended by Ben Gummer, MP for Ipswich, who said he would fully support library users.

“Rosehill Library was started by local people almost 100 years ago and was taken over by the council in the 1970s.

“It should not be the county’s decision to close Rosehill Library.

“I’m not happy with how this consultation has run so far and I will do all I can to ensure that local people get the help and support needed to keep this much-loved library open

“As an author, I have a great love of books and this is something that I feel very strongly about.”

Ms Farnworth reassured the crowd that she was fully aware of the importance of Rosehill Library and she hoped that if it were run by a community, it would remain as part of the Suffolk libraries network.

Mr Stewart said he hoped to set up a committee or community group which would then submit an expression of interest to the county council.

Last week, the Evening Star revealed that opposition members have tabled an amendment which could protect school crossing patrols and aid under-treat libraries - including facilities in Kesgrave, Needham Market and Capel St Mary.

The Labour party are proposing to stop the introduction of “locality” budgets, which would see all councillors given �5,000 at a total cost of �240,000.

Instead, they want this money to be used to fund the town’s 15 lollipop patrols, plus the staffing and supply costs for the threatened libraries.

Today, borough councillors will meet to discuss the budget.

n Are you fighting to keep Rosehill Library? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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