Thurston: Village unveils bid to save library from axe

DRAFT proposals have been drawn up to save a village library threatened under Suffolk County Council’s cost cutting plans.

Suffolk County Council is planning to offload its libraries and has warned that two-thirds of them will close unless groups step forward to take them on.

The idea of getting external organisations to run libraries is part of a bid by the council to save 30% from its library budget during the next three years.

Those threatened include Brandon, Clare, Elmswell, Glemsford, Great Cornard, Ixworth, Kedington, Lakenheath, Lavenham, Long Melford and Thurston libraries.

A number of communities are actively working on proposals to run the libraries locally.

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In March, Thurston Parish Council organised a village meeting and a group was set up to work on proposals to save the library from closure.

Chris Dashper, of the parish council’s library working group, said a draft set of proposals had now been drawn up and these will be discussed with Thurston residents at a meeting on Monday night.

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Mr Dashper said three options would be unveiled to the public during the meeting.

He said: “We want to try and take the service forward with some resemblance to what it is at the moment.

“The concept is to provide a library service and to run it on a local basis with an input from the parish council, though not necessarily run by the parish council.

“There’s no free model for a library service, even with a volunteer staff,” he said. “The parish council could cover some of those costs.”

He said the aim of the meeting was to garner public opinion about the different options before a formal expression of interest is lodged with the county council.

The county council is currently consulting on its library plans and that consultation runs until the end of April.

Explaining the reasons for the county council proposals, Judy Terry, the council’s cabinet member responsible for the consultation, said: “Suffolk County Council is not trying to close libraries.

“What we do have to do is save at least 30% of our libraries budget.”

The Thurston library meeting takes place on Monday, at 7.30pm, at the village’s New Green Community Centre.

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