Highbridge library saved

THE future of Highbridge library has been secured after a cut-price deal with the county council was announced.

The facility had been threatened with closure since Somerset County Council announced in December that it would no longer fund it.

But it was surprisingly announced at a meeting of Burnham and Highbridge Town Council on Monday that a deal to save the library had been agreed, and at a cost of only �4,000 to the town council.

Under the terms of the deal, the county council will still employ one member of staff at the library, who will also train the group of 23 volunteers who have come forward to run it.

As well as paying out �5,000 to employ the member of staff, the county council will also pick up the annual costs of the library’s connection to SomerNET, the online system which allows the Library Management System and people’s network to operate, which would cost �578 and �337 respectively.

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To access the facilities current bibliographical service (the circulation of existing book stocks), would cost �400, plus an added �400 for delivery by the library service.

The town council will need to provide �4,000 towards enabling the rescue bid, a move which was unanimously agreed by councillors at the meeting.

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The sum is considerably less than the �15,000 which had previously been set aside by the council to save the facility.

New opening hours have yet to be decided, while the hours for the 23 volunteers also have yet to be set.

The library, which had previously been described as ‘underperforming’ by councillors, had been on a list of 20 libraries across Somerset which were threatened by closure after the county council announced 25 per cent cuts to its �5.4million library service budget.

If you are interested in volunteering and helping to run the library, call the town clerk on 01278 788088.

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