Leiston: Urgent talks wanted with library bosses

COMMUNITY leaders have asked to meet with library chiefs to discuss the future of their under threat service.

Leiston-cum-Sizewell Town Council will write and ask for talks as soon as possible.

Suffolk County Council has listed Leiston Library as one of a number that it is looking to close in a bid to save money - unless people come forward to run it themselves.

At the monthly meeting of the town council on Tuesday night members of the public raised serious concerns.

Many felt a decision had already been made without adequate consultation.

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Others said communities were not equipped to take over libraries themselves as they require specialist staff.

Members of the town council also raised concerns and agreed to write to Suffolk County Council and ask for an urgent meeting with the head of libraries.

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Bill Howard said it felt as if the county council had already made a decision.

Terry Hodgson agreed, saying: “The consultation is not consultation. It’s just a document that discusses how we should run libraries - not whether we should close libraries.”

Ann Nunn said she was worried about what would happen in the future.

“If we keep the library going what happens in one or two years time? Will we still get funding? Or will it be taken away? If so, we will be seen to be closing the library and not the county council.”

Richard Smith, county councillor for Leiston, said the consultation would last until April 30 and that libraries would be funded until March 31, 2012 to give communities the chance to come up with solutions.

“It’s crucial to get your ideas in,” he said. “Its very plain that if communities don’t come and help in some way and reduce costs we will lose libraries.

“Believe me I want to keep Leiston Library open. I will do everything I can for that but we do have to be realistic. We have to look at how we can help the library survive in a different way.”

At 10.30am on Saturday campaigners will be outside Leiston Library in Old Post Office Square to protest against the proposals.

n Day of action planned for library closures, see page 17.

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