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Join the Beccles Library rally

PUBLISHED: 12:07 25 February 2011

A CALL is being made for all users of Beccles Library to show their support and explain how much they value its services.

There will still be a library service in the town after Suffolk County Council’s cuts are made – but concerns are increasing at what will be on offer.

As a result, all those who use the library in Blyburgate are being invited by a town councillor to a rally on Thursday.

The council is currently in a three-month consultation on proposals to transfer the running of 29 of its 44 libraries to local councils, businesses, community and voluntary groups in a bid to slash the library budget by 30pc.

Beccles library is one of the 15 identified as a ‘county’ library by the council, meaning that it does have a future in the town. However, Beccles town councillor Caroline Topping is trying to raise awareness that its range of services are still up for consultation and is urging people to make their support heard.

Last Saturday she was joined at the library by Sam Kenwood, Youth Parliament member for the Waveney area, and many others as they told users of the possible cuts.

On Thursday, they will be doing it all again as they arrange a rally to coincide with a county-wide ‘Save Our Libraries’ protest at Endeavour House, in Ipswich.

Mrs Topping said: “We are going to be there from 3.30-5pm because we want the youngsters involved as well, to give young people a chance to join in and have their say.”

According to council records, Beccles Library has more than 148,450 annual loans and 132,385 annual visits, with an estimated catchment area of 16,773 people. Its estimated annual cost is £350,729.

Among the many services the library offers are mother and toddler groups, computers and access to the internet, newspapers, a baby crawl book scheme, holiday reading schemes, activity groups and adult learning groups, as well as the lending service.

Mrs Topping wants people to say what services they use, what services they would like from the library and will be encouraging people to sign the council’s consultation paper about the issue. “Graham Elliott is coming down from Waveney District Council, there will be me from the town council and I have asked others to join to raise awareness,” she said.

People have until April 30 to have their say, with the council cabinet using the responses to shape their recommendations when it meets in July.

For more information about the consultation process and to have your say visit www.suffolk.gov.uk/CouncilAndDemocracy/Consultations/LibrariesConsultation2011.htm

A Save Beccles Library Facebook page has also been created as part of the campaign and there are already 291 members. To join search Facebook for “Save Beccles Library”.

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