Still no clear ideas to save library

10:36 07 July 2014

Budleigh Salterton Library.

Budleigh Salterton Library.

Archant

Budleigh’s civic leaders say they do not yet have any workable ideas to safeguard the future of the town’s library.

Devon County Council is seeking greater community involvement in the service, as it looks to save money.

When the consultation started on the county council’s plans, Budleigh Salterton Town Council invited residents to suggest ideas that could secure the library’s future.

However, although the town council has received a number of suggestions, ranging from new reading groups and computer classes to a new café or multi-storey building, none are thought to meet with the county council’s requirements.

Town mayor Councillor Caz Sismore-Hunt said: “I think these are ideas perhaps for once the library’s been saved, rather than ideas to save the library.

“At the end of the day, we haven’t got anything we can go back with and say ‘this is our proposal to save the library’.”

Councillor Chris Kitson said: “When [Devon libraries chief] Councillor Roger Croad came here it was quite clear £35,000 was the figure we are looking for to sustain the library service. If I look at these suggestions I don’t see a lot of money coming in.”

The county council is consulting on the future of all its libraries, with the 28 smallest, including Budleigh, at risk of closure, if more community involvement is not found, although county chiefs insist they are not running a closure programme.

County councillor Christine Channon suggested to town councillors that a trust could be set up, and said a potential example to follow could be that of Colyton Library, where the Friends of Colyton Library group is involved in running services with volunteers.

However, the town council subsequently found that Colyton, a small village library, would not be a suitable model to follow.

Cllr Sismore-Hunt added that the town council was still open to ideas, and hopeful that a solution could be found.

Devon County Council’s library consultation is running until Thursday, July 17.

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