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Brighton and Hove mobile library facing axe
3:00pm Friday 14th September 2012 in News
A mobile library service is to be axed despite a well-supported campaign to keep it.
Brighton and Hove City Council have announced they are looking to replace the mobile library vehicle with a personalised door-to-door “books-on-wheels” delivery service.
Council officials said they lacked sufficient funds and had been unsuccessful in finding local partners to help run the mobile library service.
However, Labour councillors claimed the council had failed to consider their own proposals for funding the service.
The council is proposing a full-time home delivery library officer to visit residents unable to get to libraries and deliver books to their doorstep and give home tuition in Internet, email and social media skills.
The home delivery service will have a budget of £25,000 per year and would require the assistance of volunteers.
The proposal would free-up the £120,000 allocated to buy a new vehicle put forward at February’s budget meeting.
The service’s future remained uncertain despite that funding pledge without a commitment from an outside partner to cover £74,000 annual running costs for ten years.
More than 1,500 people signed a petition to save the community facility, used by more than 800 individuals.
Councillor Geoffrey Bowden, chairman of the economic development and culture committee, said the new service could reach people in a way the mobile library couldn’t.
The proposals will be discussed at the cross-party economic development and culture committee on Thursday.
Councillor Brian Fitch, Labour and Cooperative spokesman for culture, said: “We were promised by the Greens that they would take our suggestion of finding the shortfall fromagencies such as the police, the health authority and the fire service seriously, they clearly haven’t.”
Conservative culture spokeswoman Vanessa Brown cautiously backed the plan.
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