Lifeline for doomed library?

PUBLISHED: 13:00 15 January 2010 | UPDATED: 11:34 25 May 2010

THE future of a village library could have a final glimmer of hope after being threatened with closure.

THE future of a village library could have a final glimmer of hope after being threatened with closure.

North Somerset Council announced last year how facilities in Banwell, Congresbury and Backwell could be closed as part of cost-cutting measures.

Villagers in all three places were told they could lose their libraries and have them replaced with a mobile service.

But the unitary authority's community services, policy and scrutiny panel has been delving into the value of the move and is questioning the idea to close Congresbury's facility.

Members say efforts have been made to find an alternative site to that at the Old School Rooms in Station Road, but that has proved unsuccessful at this stage.

The councillors say the cost issue seems to be with the price of staffing, so the working group will ask for the rationale behind the potential closure.

It also says the parish council is exploring the idea of providing volunteers to help run the library.

In Banwell assessments are being carried out to see if the facility could run from the village's children's centre.

The cuts are part of the council efforts to plug a whopping funding gap within two years and its subsequent review of all authority services.

Leisure chief Felicity Baker says the current Banwell facility has the second lowest visitor number of all rural libraries in the district and Congresbury the fourth lowest and that it could save £30,000 per year by replacing them and Backwell's library with mobile services.

The future of Worle library was also reviewed, however it was decided that, despite its proximity to The Campus in Locking Castle, the communities each serves are large enough to warrant keeping it open.

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