Suffolk: Consultation over mobile library service launched
MOBILE libraries could stop less often or skip bigger towns if plans to cut costs by more than a third are approved.
A six-week public consultation starts today on finding ways of saving �225,000 from the mobile library budget, and people who use the service are being asked to share their views.
Suffolk County Council is considering going from fortnightly to monthly visits, as in Norfolk and Cambridgeshire, and removing stops from parishes or towns which already have a library.
Councillor Judy Terry, portfolio holder responsible for libraries, said: “For some people living in Suffolk’s most rural communities, the mobile library plays a significant role in giving them access to reading and learning.
“There is therefore no question of removing it altogether.
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“What we’re asking people for are their views on how to keep it running while making necessary financial savings.”
Around 7,000 people currently use mobile libraries, as they stop in 361 communities across Suffolk. With a total budget of �600,000 to serve the county, this works out at �7.70 per customer compared to �2.51 per person in built libraries.
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Jennie Pink, a vocal campaigner for Saxmundham library when it was previously threatened with closure, said the service should be maintained in deprived commmunities.
She said: “If they safeguard the assets they have got at the moment and it’s just that people are having fewer visits, then that seems logical.
“But we would like to see some projected savings on how much each option would save.” People can share their views by going to www.suffolk.gov.uk/sld, before the final proposals are considered by the cabinet on November 8.