Saturday, 24 February 2018
The future of Shepton’s library is once again being questioned by Somerset County Council. The cash-strapped County authority is looking to save hundreds of thousands of pounds from its budget and sees libraries as an easy target to make cuts or closures.
Somerset Council has embarked on a public consultation process. Residents have a limited chance to express their views in Shepton Mallet Library on Tuesday 27 February from 2.30 – 5.30pm. For all who cannot make this time slot, you can also comment online at www.somerset.gov.uk/libraryconsultation
We believe the library should stay in the very heart of the town.
Somerset County Council’s own figures show that Shepton’s library is well used with 44,000 visits a year. To remove these thousands of visits would undermine the commendable work by local business people who are doing all they can to regenerate the High Street and bring life, footfall and vitality back into Shepton.
We reject the option to move the library to Mendip District Council’s SHAPE complex as we think this will suck the life out of our town centre. We also fear that a move to SHAPE could prove to be a slow path to eventual closure of any library facility in Shepton. If numbers of library visits fall after a move to the Mendip Office block, then it will be argued that the library is no longer needed.
We support the Town Council’s initiative to try and find a building in the centre of town that can rehouse a full range of library services. This could also become a community hub that could even house the Town Council’s own offices.
It is important that Shepton keeps a modern well-equipped library service, led by professionals, in a central visible and accessible location.
Our town centre library is an important community service for education, personal development, Internet access and events, and should remain in our town centre.
If you believe this too, then you must tell Somerset County Council before their public consultation ends on 22 April 2018