MP hits out at mobile library cuts

Burnham and Highbridge Weekly News: MP Tessa Munt, pictured earlier this year with mobile library campaigners. MP Tessa Munt, pictured earlier this year with mobile library campaigners.

BURNHAM and Highbridge MP Tessa Munt has hit out at county council plans to cut mobile library services in Somerset.

The proposals include cutting the number of library vehicles from six to two by August and halving the number of communities visited.

The frequency of visits will also be reduced to once every four weeks.

Ms Munt said: “I know there will still be library visits to schools, elderly people's homes and sheltered housing, but I am deeply concerned that such a major scaling back of this vital service will have a hugely detrimental effect on many towns and villages, and on people's lives.

“I urge the councillors to consider the long term effects, and to think again.”

Somerset County Council said the service was being reduced to help the authority cope with 25% reductions to its library budget.

Details of the new mobile library routes, which will take effect from August 15, will be distributed to mobile library users over the next few weeks.

To find out more, see the link by this story.

A county council spokesman said: “More than 300 stops will still be made, reaching more than half the communities currently receiving a service.”

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The new route prioritises stops where communities are three miles or more from a static library, where the service currently serves three or more people, where there are key groups including pre-school and playgroup children, and elderly people’s groups or sheltered housing, and where people are housebound.

County council cabinet member Christine Lawrence said devising the new routes had been “very difficult” but the council aimed to reach as many communities possible with limited resources.

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