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It's official: Hampshire County Council cuts support to Kingsclere Community Library

Jonathan Ashby

Jonathan Ashby

jonathan.ashby@newburynews.co.uk

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01635 886637

Petition launched to stop library cuts

KINGSCLERE Community Library faces an uphill battle to stay open after Hampshire County Council confirmed it was cutting its support.

From April 1 next year, the library will no longer be part of the council’s library service, requiring it to become independent and financially support itself.

The decision to pull the support of the council’s four community-run libraries will save the council approximately £49,000 as part of a wider effort to save £1.76m.

Elsewhere in the county, eight libraries will be closing – with Chineham library in Basingstoke and Emsworth in Havant granted late reprieves – while the others will see their opening hours reduced by an average of 20 per cent.

To help the transition, the library – which has been run by volunteers since 2015 – will be able to apply for a one-off investment through the recreation and heritage fund.

These awards will be individually assessed and are expected to be less than £10,000.

The library will also be able to make use of the current Group Membership offer, which will enable it to be able to refresh its physical stock by accessing all items within the Hampshire library collection.

Executive member for recreation and heritage Sean Woodward, who made the final decision on Tuesday, said the support measures would help the library transition to become fully independent.

He said: “I’ve made available financial support for them and also moved quite considerably to offer county support to those community libraries so they are now eligible to apply for a grant up to £10,000.

“I did meet the ladies that run Kingsclere library before I made the decision and their main concern was that they weren’t going to get a fresh supply of books.

“They can become members of the library scheme which will allow them to have hundreds of new books on a regular basis.

“£10,000 is quite significant and the book offer is permanent so they can keep refreshing their books.

“They were already raising the money to run the building so they’re going to have a year’s transition, rather than support simply ending – there’s some financial support and they’re going to get what was most precious to them, which was books.

“I think you’ll see them in a very positive position. None of that was on offer until yesterday.”

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