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COLYTON: Community could take lead at library after budget cuts

Thursday, 05 June 2014


SUPPORTERS of Colyton Library are looking at ways in which they could run the service as a community library, following news that Devon County Council is cutting its budget by £1.5million. The Friends of Colyton Library were told at their annual general meeting in March that it would have to consider changes to the way the service is run in the future, as Devon County Council plans to cut a further £1.5million between the current financial year and 2016/17, having already made reductions of £3million over the past three years by reducing management and support services by over 30 per cent, opening hours by 16 per cent and investment in new books and other resources by 30 per cent. The Friends are now considering potential ways in which they could turn the service into a community-run library, meaning they would take on responsibility for the building from the county council with a reduced income. Possibilities currently being considered include income generation on a recurring basis, becoming a registered charity or making better use of the building by offering small groups the opportunity to meet there for a hire fee. Determined to keep library The Friends are working with both Colyton Parish Council and Colyton Chamber of Feoffees on this project, commenting that both are “very supportive” and are “determined” that the town should continue to have a library service. Devon County Council is currently holding a public consultation on seven proposals regarding the future of libraries across the county, including reducing running costs by sharing spaces, integrating services and staff, improving technology to widen access to services, seeking new sources of income and working with smaller communities to identify how libraries could be sustained in “new and innovative ways”. A questionnaire on these proposals is available to fill out online at www.toughchoices.co.uk until July 10th. Devon County Council stated: “The proposals we have developed could deliver the required savings, provide a good spread of locations across Devon where high-quality and modern library services would be integrated with other complementary services and encourage communities to maximise the use and impact of their local library in the future. “We are keen to hear the views and ideas of a wide range of people and to learn about the potential impact – positive and negative – that these proposals may have on you, your family and friends and your local community. “We are also keen to hear about any ideas or potential approaches which we have not considered, or hear from organisations which may be willing to work with us in the future. We will use this feedback to create a definitive set of proposals to take to Devon County Council’s Cabinet during autumn 2014.” n POLITICIAN and novelist Ann Widdecombe will be appearing at Colyton Town Hall to raise funds for the library with her talk “Ann Widdecombe’s Life and Times”. The talks will be held on July 24th at 2pm. Tickets costing £7.50 are available from the Merchant’s Tearoom in Market Square or by emailing jennyfielding@f2s.com

Email: francesca@pemedia.co.uk

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