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Saving libraries

Labour councillors from across West Sussex have started a petition after cutback proposals by West Sussex County Council to library services.

 

The plans would see the mobile library service abolished, all the main libraries’ opening hours reduced by around an hour and many of the smaller libraries under threat of complete
closure.

 

The council has launched a consultation on the proposed cutbacks, asking residents for their views, but Labour councillors say this is ‘just a PR exercise’ and that the decisions on the library service ‘have already been taken unofficially’.

 

In response, Labour councillors across West Sussex are calling on the Conservative leadership at West Sussex to abandon plans for all of these cuts which will hurt local communities and stop people from accessing their library services.

 

They have also launched a petition this week so residents can join in and support the campaign.

 

•The four largest libraries in West Sussex, which includes Chichester, are all faced with earlier closing, at 6pm rather than 7pm, meaning that working people in regular hours jobs are unlikely to be access their local service at any other time than on Saturdays.

 

The 13 “smaller” libraries, which are at risk, include Petworth and The Witterings.

 

The mobile library service would see its services entirely abolished which would mean many people living in remoter parts of the county who were unable to access the towns easily would lose out on this long-standing service and would either be forced to travel into their nearest town or seek other arrangements.

 

If the petition, which calls on the cabinet member to scrap any planned cuts to the library service, raises 3,000 signatures, which can be from anyone who lives, works or studies in West Sussex, the full council will be forced to consider it at a meeting, where it will have to decide whether to take action to listen to the petitioners’ calls.

 

To sign the petition, visit: change.org/p/west-sussex-county-council-save-our-local-west-sussex-libraries

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