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COLYTON: Library users urged to attend consultation drop-in session
Thursday, 01 May 2014
Colyton Library users will have a chance to grill decision makers about proposed service cuts during a two-hour drop-in consultation on Thursday, May 1st. Following the Devon County Council (DCC) announcement that its library service must cut its budget by £1.5million, senior officers and elected councillors will be at a consultation road show at Colyton Library from 2pm-4pm. As part of the proposal, Colyton Library would effectively become a second-tier, volunteer-led facility - if a way can be found. At the time of the announcement, Friends of Colyton Library chairman Jane Dauncey said: “Devon County Council don’t want to close any libraries. We have got to look carefully at solutions to these problems. “We will be working with the community and county council to find the best solution.” The friends are working closely with the Feoffees and other interested parties who came forward after an appeal for members with relevant experience. As opposed to Axminster Library supporters, the Colyton group has accepted that things will change. Colyton Library already has volunteers who run the facility for two and a half hours a week, but Jane stressed the importance of having a professional librarian and being part of the county library service. She said: “The volunteer experience has been positive, but has also shown us how important it is to be part of the library service. “We can’t do this on our own, we need a librarian as well.” The drop-in session will be attended by senior officers and elected county council members, and is an opportunity to demonstrate strong support for the library. Jane urged anyone who is able to to attend. She added: “If you can't get there, take part in the consultation. “There are forms in the library and online.” DCC insists it is taking the consultation seriously, and a spokesperson said: “Senior officers and library staff will be at the drop-in session, and councillors will attend as many as they can.” About the proposal as a whole, the spokesperson said: “The 13-week consultation is exploring proposals to create a network of 22 Devon Centres at the county’s busiest libraries. “The county council wants to hear from local communities to identify how 28 smaller libraries could be sustained in future. “A series of drop in sessions will be held at libraries across the county between April 28th and June 25th to give people an opportunity to provide their feedback on the proposals. “The proposals are in response to the changing ways people are using libraries and budget reductions facing the council to find £1.5 million in savings over the next three years. “The consultation will run until July 17th, and a definitive set of proposals will go before the county council’s cabinet in September.” Councillor Roger Croad, DCC Cabinet member with responsibility for the library service, said: “Libraries are well-loved and highly valued by local communities, but we need to find the most sustainable way for them to continue in future. “We all want a library service which provides a safe, welcoming space within our communities as well as providing access to high quality information and promoting a love of reading. “We’re keen to develop a set of proposals which ensure that libraries deliver the huge potential they can offer to support local needs. “This consultation is an opportunity for people to give us their views and suggestions on how they would like these important services continue while also reducing costs.” Information on the consultation is available at www.toughchoices.co.uk as well as in libraries and through the mobile library service. Ideas and comments can be emailed to email@example.com
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