Campaign launched to save library
PUBLISHED: 12:00 07 January 2011
SUPPORTERS of Cheddar Library have launched a campaign to prevent the 'much-needed' facility from becoming a victim of county council funding cuts.
Around 100 residents and library users attended a packed meeting on Monday to discuss Somerset County Council’s proposals to end the funding of the village service.
The authority has earmarked 20 libraries in the county, including Highbridge, which would see their funding end as the council looks to make a 25 per cent saving on its current £5.4million library service budget.
If the communities fail to take up the option of running them without local authority funding, the libraries could be forced to close.
A new group called The Friends of Cheddar Library has been set-up in the hope of saving this facility from closure and it has already started to collect signatures for a petition which it intends to hand over to the county council.
Adrian Male, group member, said: “The library is of massive importance in this village.
“In terms of economy, a lot of people come to use the library and then shop here so it would have an effect on businesses.
“We have three schools in the village and a lot of young people use the library, particularly places like the first school which encourage their students to be members.
“If the library closes this will have a detrimental impact on our children’s literacy.”
Mr Male, aged 54, said if Cheddar Library was to close, the nearest facilities residents could use would be Burnham or Wells.
He added: “Unless you have direct transport you can’t get to Burnham and a return bus ticket to Wells is £7.50.
“The council has a legal responsibility to provide a library service to everyone in the county and a fair geographical spread of these facilities, which would not happen if our library was to close.”
It is holding another meeting on Monday in the Bath Arms at 7pm and everyone is welcome to attend.
Somerset County Council is holding a public consultation on the library funding cuts, which can comment on until January 14.