Council will fund library maintenance costs

Community groups worried over the future of their village libraries were given a clearer idea of what Suffolk County Council's involvement will be at a meeting.

County councillor Guy McGregor, representing Hoxne and Eye, told an Eye Town Council meeting on Wednesday the county council would contribute �3,500 towards the maintenance of the new building for Eye Library, as well as helping out with the library's running costs.

Eye mayor and voluntary group member Felix Williams welcomed the news, which will enable groups taking over the running of libraries after county council cutbacks to budget properly for their own responsibilities.

He said: 'To hear the county is providing on-going financial commitments to the property and the library's function is great news.'

However, he warned the annual cost of maintaining the former Citizens Advice Bureau building, in Cross Street, which is set to be the library's new home, was likely to be �6,200 so extra money would need to be found for the maintenance.

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Earlier this week, Mr Williams was considering writing to the county council asking for more information on what services voluntary groups would be taking on because, he said, the county had not made its position clear.

In particular, he wanted to know if the voluntary group was going to be responsible for building maintenance, staffing, books and library activities when the Eye library moves from Buckshorn Lane to its new home for a trial run in April 2012.

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His group has teamed up with groups responsible for libraries in Stradbroke and Debenham, which were given the go-ahead to take over part of the running of their libraries in August as part of county council spending cuts.

The county council has been setting up a new structure to run the county's 44 libraries to find savings of 30pc in its library budget.

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