Mixed news for libraries

PUBLISHED: 17:00 11 May 2011

The library in Highbridge was due to close until a cut-price solution was announced last month

The library in Highbridge was due to close until a cut-price solution was announced last month

Archant

BURNHAM and Highbridge’s libraries have received mixed news from the county council this week.

Highbridge library, which was saved from closure by a last-ditch agreement in April, may receive £5,000 to help the takeover of the facility by the community.

But Burnham library will see its opening hours reduced by 20 per cent from October 1 in line with Somerset County Council’s spending cuts.

The council has set up a pot of £30,000 to provide one-off grants to communities committed to running libraries which would not remain funded by the authority.

If applied for, the money could be used alongside the £16,000 of saving set aside by Burnham and Highbridge Town Council to support the facility.

But other libraries which have not had their funding withdrawn by the council, which include the Burnham facility, will now see their hours reduced.

The Princess Street service will be open seven-and-a-half hours fewer than at the moment, with hours reduced on every day except Saturdays, and with Monday’s opening times now reduced to a half day.

The county council’s cabinet member for community services, Councillor Christine Lawrence, said: “As with all services, the decision to reduce budgets for libraries has been very tough but is necessary because of the Council’s financial position. We need to provide the best service we can within the resources we have.”

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