Library cuts mark a ‘black day’ for Hampshire County Council’s services

The decision by Hampshire County Council to cut a series of library services has been condemned
The decision by Hampshire County Council to cut a series of library services has been condemned
Fareham Community Hospital in Salisbury Green

Picture: Paul Jacobs

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THE decision to cut a series of library services has been condemned.

At the culture, recreation and countryside meeting at Hampshire County Council, the decision was made to follow recommendations to cut £300,000 from the Libraries and Information Service budget.

The announcement, made by executive member Councillor Keith Chapman will see one of three libraries close, 115 stops axed from the mobile library service and the Family Library Link service stopped.

The mobile library link service visits 36 nurseries children’s centres around 10 times a year in Gosport, Portchester and Havant but will stop in May 2016 when the bus lease ends.

But Councillor Peter Chegwyn, Liberal Democrat opposition spokesman for culture and communities, has condemned the cuts and said it was ‘a black day’ for libraries.

‘Across all library services, it is a black day,’ he said.

‘A number of cuts have been made recently and you can see that by the number of mobile libraries reducing from 15 to three.

‘But the families using the Family Library Link service are missing out.

‘It is important for children to have the resources to learn to read.’

Cllr Chegwyn added: ‘No-one at the council wanted to see these cuts but every local authority has to budget.

‘These cuts to the library services are not something that you can simply bring back later.’

But Cllr Chapman said the council needs to ensure services are used efficiently.

He said: ‘The council is committed to providing an efficient library service.

‘However, like all council services, and in the case of other library authorities across the country, significant savings must be found as a result of continuing cuts in government funding.

‘The Family Library Link Service will continue until May 2016 when the vehicle’s lease runs out.

‘I have asked officers to look into perhaps working in partnership with local children’s nurseries and primary schools to provide the service in a different way.’