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Surrey County Council Lib Dems

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Lib Dems throw the book at Surrey Tory library cuts and Mobile Library closure plans

January 25, 2011 7:25 AM

Plans by Surrey's Conservative administration to close down the Mobile Library Service and further plans to reduce the County's static libraries to "a core branch network" have been slated by Liberal Democrat councillors as "hitting the heart of local communities."

The plans, presented in reports to the Council's Cabinet meeting next week, would see the fleet of Mobile Libraries axed and the possible future closure of many small libraries.

Liberal Democrat spokesman for Safer and Stronger Communities Councillor David Goodwin said: "The County's Mobile Library Service provides a crucial service to remote areas as well as an important service to many elderly and disabled residents. According to the Council's own report nearly a quarter of mobile library users have difficulties getting about, 15% have hearing difficulties, 11% have sight problems and 7% have difficulties using their fingers."

"Scrapping the Mobile Library Service will have a serious impact to these Surrey residents, meaning many of them are cut off and unable to access a service that has been at the heart of communities for many years. Children and families without a car will suffer particularly badly under these proposals."

In addition to scrapping the Mobile Library Service, the plan proposes that "The strategic approach for Surrey's libraries put forward by this review is to focus on a core branch network" - with many smaller libraries being taken over by volunteers in the local community.

Councillor Goodwin added: "What the report doesn't say is which libraries are being planned to be transferred to be run by volunteers from the community, nor does it say what would happen to a library if not enough voluntary support is found. Presumably the library would be closed. The savings of these changes are already in the Council's budget plans for the next four years, so although it is said there will be a consultation, it looks very much like the decision has already been taken."