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Suffolk: Last effort urged in bid to save libraries

PUBLISHED: 09:06 26 April 2011

Suffolk County Council HQ at Endeavour House

Suffolk County Council HQ at Endeavour House

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CAMPAIGNERS are urging residents to have their say over the future of libraries before it is too late.

A four-month consultation by Suffolk County Council on how the service can be run for less money ends on Saturday.

Campaign groups have sprung up across the county in a bid to save their libraries from closure with petitions revealing the strength of feeling. There are 1441 signatures on the county council’s online e-petitions alone.

There was a glimmer of hope last week with Mark Bee being chosen as county council leader. He has pledged to save school crossing patrols and slow down the divestment of waste sites and libraries.

Richard Kemp, of New Road, Long Melford, has been involved in the campaigns to save Long Melford and Glemsford libraries. He urged people to respond to the consultation.

“I think a lot of people would be absolutely shocked and dismayed and lose a lot of faith in public authorities if the county council don’t listen,” he said.

Beccles Town Council has sent a letter to Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt asking for his “assistance and advice” over concerns for the future of the town’s library. Its manager Stephen Amer said there was still a lot of uncertainty surrounding the consultation and urged people to support the town’s library.

Twenty-nine libraries could close if cost-cutting solutions, such as other organisations taking them on, are not found.

More than 2,500 responses have so far been received by the county council, including 15 expressions of interest in running a library service.

A report setting out recommendations for the way forward will go before the council’s cabinet on July 19.

To respond to the consultation visit www.suffolk.gov.uk/librariesconsultation2011

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