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Wednesday, July 23, 2014
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HONITON: Library cuts could be ‘good news’ for town
Thursday, 01 May 2014
Proposed changes to services at Honiton Library could have a positive impact and help bring more people into the town, the chairman of the library’s League of Friends has said. Smaller libraries across Devon could be closed as a result of the county council proposals, with the remaining facilities –including Honiton – converted into ‘Devon Centres’, and a period of public consultation is now underway. There is concern that volunteers will be asked to take over the running of the libraries in Ottery St Mary and Colyton as the council looks to make cutbacks, but some are optimistic that the changes will benefit Honiton. Janet Connors, the library’s League of Friends chairman, said: “The League of Friends met with the council’s area manager for libraries this week and, as I understand it, the changes will be quite good news for Honiton. “We will not be closing or losing any services – in fact, the library will be extending services and that could boost visitor numbers.” Under the proposals, which are up for consultation until July, library space would be shared with other services, with running costs reduced at smaller libraries where communities would be asked to take on more responsibility for providing services. Alternatives to the mobile library facilities are also to be looked at, which could see more people coming into Honiton to make use of a range of services. Mrs Connors added: “The library already incorporates the Citizens Advice Bureau and what else is likely to come in, we just do not know at this stage. “It is possible that opening hours could be extended or extra members of staff added to the team to accommodate the changes. “It is unfortunate that other libraries will lose out and I would be very concerned about volunteers being asked to run services, but that will not affect Honiton Library and, on the face of it, the changes could be good news for the town.” Councillor Roger Croad, Devon County Council Cabinet Member with responsibility for libraries, said: “These proposals would see a consolidation of the service focusing on a network of enhanced Devon Centres, with resources and support to community-led initiatives. “We know that, at their best, libraries have tremendous potential to support people of all ages to develop their skills and knowledge. “We think these proposals represent the best opportunity to maximise the potential of libraries to support local communities in the future.” A public consultation on the proposed changes lasts until July 17th and comments can be made on Devon County Council’s ‘Tough Choices’ web site at www.devon.gov.uk/libraryreview
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