Thu, 24 Mar 2016
CHILDREN'S education will suffer if West Berkshire Council closes Theale library.
That was the claim made by residents who waved placards and shouted "save our library" in a mass protest on Wednesday night.
Residents queued out of the door to withdraw books as a symbol of how well used the village library is. They were joined by best-selling novelist Diane Setterfield, who grew up in the village.
Theale Green School uses the library for lessons and pupil Josh Tipper, aged 12, said that the closure "would have a big impact on my school and my education."
Theale library, along with Wash Common's, has been recommended for closure as part of the district council's attempt to save £17.5m this year.
The council had announced to close eight of the district's nine libraries, leaving Newbury unscathed.
But after it received £1.4m of transitional funding from the government, the council announced last week that it would use £475,000 of the government cash to keep some libraries open temporarily.
Friends of Theale Library spokesman, James Townsend, said the group was shocked by "flawed decision" and lack of dialogue with the community
He said: "The decision came so suddenly. Other libraries have been given an opportunity. We have not had anything like that.
"We want to keep it open. We just ask for the time to put together a community plan and that’s been taken away from us."
West Berkshire Council is expected to vote through the library closures, along with further cuts to public services, at a meeting tonight (Thursday).
For more on the protest, and the council meeting, pick up next week's Newbury Weekly News.
(Pictures and video by Leigh Quinnell)