Fears for future of Cromer Library

The fight is on for the future of a North Norfolk library after members of the public gathered at a weekend meeting to discuss Norfolk County Council funding threats.

A small crowd of concerned local residents met inside Cromer Library for the meeting, and heard that staffing levels and services were endangered by the council's cost-cutting efforts.

The meeting was organised by a town book group called Read for Joy, and was chaired by Derek Wright.

Mr Wright told the meeting that the council was currently consulting on proposals to reduce the countywide library service funding by �451,000 in 2011/12, �364,000 in 2012/13 and �394,000 in 2013/14, while also reducing book funding by �50,000.

Cromer's community librarian Maria Pavlidis spelled out the services offered by the library.

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Alongside the traditional lending services, she said the library provided information about local services, ran a family history group, supported reading groups for people with visual impairments and drug and alcohol problems, helped people with literacy issues, visited schools and playgroups to tell stories, organised summer reading games for adults and children, and invited authors to the library for one-off events.

Town councillors John Edwards and Hilary Thompson said the council had met to debate the county funding cuts, and the members had unanimously agreed to 'totally oppose' any library cuts or book budget reductions.

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Mrs Thompson said: 'We have a very good library here, which provides an excellent service. We want to support keeping it as it is.'

Some members of the public suggested the county council should charge more money to those who could afford it.

But Ruth Bartlett, who helped to organise the meeting, said: 'There are lots of people on low incomes who can't afford to pay. We need these libraries in society for everybody, and we should pay for them as a community.'

It was agreed to find out more specific detail about the county council's proposals before responding to its consultation before the January 10 deadline.

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