New library plans to be unveiled

PUBLISHED: 09:00 20 October 2013

Topsham Library. Photo by Simon Horn. Ref ext 2198-42-13SH. To order your copy of this photograph go to www.exmouthjournal.co.uk and click on Photo Orders.

Topsham Library. Photo by Simon Horn. Ref ext 2198-42-13SH. To order your copy of this photograph go to www.exmouthjournal.co.uk and click on Photo Orders.

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Topsham residents will be given the first chance next week to find out how the town’s library could be transformed into a charity-led community hub.

Topsham-based charity the Estuary League of Friends is in talks with Devon County Council about ways of making greater use of the existing library building, to serve as a focus for community activities as well as continuing to lend books and other media.

The charity also has plans which show how the library site could be used for a new and larger building to provide a permanent base for some of its activities.

The plans will be displayed in an exhibition at the Matthews Hall next Thursday (October 24) between 2pm and 4pm, where the public will also get to discuss the plans with charity and council representatives.

Estuary League of Friends chief executive Rachel Gilpin said: “This is the first time we have had an opportunity to explain how we could transform the current library site to become a home for many of the wide range of services we now offer to clients, while guaranteeing the current library services too.

“A permanent building for the charity would be a huge advantage. We could better serve our clients with existing services – from memory cafés and advice sessions to nail-cutting clinics and our twice-weekly day centre.

“We could also make better use of our donations by spending less on renting and hiring accommodation. Everyone wins.”

County councillor responsible for libraries, Roger Croad, said: “We’re pleased to have the opportunity to discuss with the Estuary League of Friends and with other local groups the potential to improve service provision in Topsham.

“We will consider all the feedback received from our consultations and will publish our response by the end of 
November.”

A county council spokesman added that it was too early to say how exactly the arrangement between the council and the league of friends would work.

The exhibition next Thursday will be followed by a drop-in session at the library on Monday, October 28, from 3pm to 5pm, when library managers will be available to answer questions or hear suggestions.

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