Monday, 10 January 2011

Library closure threat - details in February

Cornwall Council's plans to save around a million pounds from the library and one stop shops budget were passed in December despite the opposition of the Liberal Democrats and many thousands of local library users.

We are concerned because the only plan that has so far been agreed by the Tory led council would see the closure of all but 9 of Cornwall's libraries. Although the authority claims that it wants to make the savings by other means, they have so far said that they have no idea how this will be achieved.

Today councillors were told that we will learn more about the plans in February.

The budget for next year demands savings of around £250,000. The administration says that it can achieve this through 'back office' savings such as a different way of buying books and through relocating some one stop shops into library buildings. We'll have to look at the details but, in principle, there is nothing wrong with making savings where the front line level of service is not affected.

But we will also get details about how they plan to make the much bigger £750,000 saving in the second year. This is the cut which we fear will mean the closure of some libraries - even if it is not as many as the twenty branches which were threatened in the original plan.

This will no doubt be of great interest to library users up and down Cornwall. More than 1000 in Launceston signed up to the Lib Dem campaign to save our local library and an even greater number signed up in Bodmin. Petitions are being collected in other towns as I type.

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