What a splendid turnout of Shepton People at the public meeting to discuss the closure of Shepton and other Libraries in Somerset.
The Council chamber was packed to the rafters, so to speak. There was unity of purpose, everyone who spoke wanted their library to stay open.
Firstly, let me say I was impressed that John Osman, deputy leader of Somerset County Council came to front up to Shepton residents. It would have been easy not to. I may disagree with the message, I certainly do not agree that the coalition government needed to cut so early so deeply to the public sector, that in part caused these cuts to our libraries. But least he heard what Shepton people had to say.
Tessa Munt came to the meeting, she stated her objection to the closures of the libraries, she believes cuts could be made in the back office and if they cannot Eric Pickles should be consulted. I leave it to others to judge whether it's central government or local governments fault that our libraries our proposed to be reduced by 20.
Let's be clear Shepton residents wants our library to be in the centre of our Town, it wants a Library that is networked into the County Council, we want professional librarian staff to be employed to offer a top service.
The County Council should be proud of the library service, it is efficient and gives value for money with dedicated staff.
I know after gathering signatures over Christmas, people genuinely are against these closures, Shepton has gathered best part of 3000 signatures, the message is clear.
SAVE OUR LIBRARIES
The message is clear: libraries matter. Their presence at the heart of our town sends the proud signal that everyone – whoever they are, whatever their educational background, whatever their age or their needs – is welcome. Free and fair access to books – to reading and technology – is a right and one we should fight for.