Campaigners’ joy as Usk library gets reprieve
11:09am Wednesday 8th January 2014 in News
USK Library has been given a reprieve for a year after being under threat in the budget cuts.
Campaigners have been assured that the service will remain for the forthcoming financial year and that positive talks are being held with Monmouthshire council to secure its long-term future and ensure it is not threatened by future cuts.
The Save Usk Library Action Group feared it would lose the service after it was named as one of 37 ideas the council believes could go towards bridging the £9million financial gap in the 2014/15 budget , a move which could have saved £180,000.
Campaigners argued that the library is the only publicly-funded service in Usk and the most visited in the country, despite opening the least hours. For many, it is their only access to broadband, the only place where schoolchildren can get books and is the only hub for the community which is free.
The council's deputy leader, Councillor Bob Greenland, who is also a cabinet member with responsibility for libraries,gave his assurance that the library will not close or have its hours reduced at a public meeting held in Usk in November.
In his latest statement he said a positive meeting between the council and the group was held before Christmas.
He said: “We are continuing to engage with the Usk group and I feel that we can bring forward a sustainable model. Meanwhile, we intend that Usk Library will continue the way it is until a new model is brought forward.”
Action group leader, Julie McGowan, said the group felt the council has listened to and understood the needs of people in Usk, which had become apparent at the various public meetings held in the town.
Speaking on behalf of the group, Mrs McGowan said: “Cllr Greenland has assured us that the library will remain for the forthcoming year, but we are all keen to make sure we have a long-term sustainable model so that the library isn’t threatened again in the future.”
“To this end the group will be working closely throughout the year with the council to determine this new model and we are cautiously optimistic this can be achieved.”
She added: “We would like to assure everyone that we will continue to work for a library service that is at least comparable to what we have now, or, as Cllr Greenland hopes, even better than we have now.”
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