Future of Halesworth’s library is discussed

Book lovers in Halesworth heard on Saturday why the people of the town should support it's library and how it central to the life of the town.

To mark National Libraries Day Dr Andrew Jones, chairman of the Halesworth library users group, gave a talk in the library about its future.

About 30 people attended Dr Jones's talk which focused on three main themes - the importance of the library to the town, how it will funded and the uncertain future of its staffing arrangements.

Dr Jones's speech described how Halesworth Town Council will be funding 5pc of the Bridge Street site's running costs by raising the town's precept with a band D council tax bill rising by between �3 and �4.

The precept rise follows a Suffolk County Council decision in April to set up a Industrial and Provident Society(IPS) to run the county's 44 libraries, which will see local communities having to find 5pc to run theirs.

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Explaining why people in Halesworth should support the precept rise, Dr Jones said: 'If we recognise the centrality of the library to the life of this town, if we say that the building offers life, as distinct from mere existence, I think we can say that this is �3 or �4 which could not be better spent.

'On reflection the raising of the precept is perhaps something which is fit for celebration, something which we can honestly celebrate on National Libraries Day.'

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Dr Jones, who is a town councillor, said the setting up of the IPS will see the equivalent of 10 full time posts go in libraries and he was not sure if Halesworth library's six staff would be affected by the transfer from the county council to the IPS.

He said: 'There are questions about transferring from Suffolk County Council into the new body. There is a threat, there is uncertainty.'

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