Libraries are reprieved

ONLY one of three village libraries earmarked for closure by North Somerset Council a year ago has been axed.

Book-lovers in Congresbury, Banwell and Backwell feared the worst when their village libraries were lined up for the chop 12 months ago.

But although Backwell library was closed down and the service moved to the village leisure centre in July, facilities in Banwell and Congresbury have remained.

In Congresbury the parish council stepped in with �3,500 to fund staffing costs and it renegotiated the library building lease to a peppercorn rent.

An ICT hub has also been located in the building and the council remains responsible for the day-to-day operations.

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In Banwell, the library closure and move of the service to the children’s centre has been put on hold while a structural review of Winscombe’s library is carried out.

The delay has impacted on the council’s proposed saving of �115,000 this financial year, bringing it down to �75,000.

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However, officers expect to make a further �40,000 saving in the next financial year if the closure of Banwell library does go ahead.

A total of �100,000 has also been saved as part of a cutback in book purchases.

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