More cuts feared for mobile library service
BOOKWORMS across the county have raised concerns after council bosses revealed plans to cut £84,000 from Oxfordshire’s mobile library service.
But Oxfordshire County Council has said the cuts will not affect frontline services.
The savings will be discussed by councillors on Monday and a public consultation on the future of the service will be launched.
Cuts of £84,000 will have to be made to the service by March 2014 out of an annual budget of £330,000.
Faringdon mayor Mike Wise, who campaigned against the county council’s library reforms last year, said: “The mobile library goes around the old people’s homes in Faringdon, so it is their only access to new books and is essential.
“ I don’t think we should tolerate any further cuts to our library service.”
There are five library vehicles which serve designated geographical areas of the county on weekdays, mostly on a two-week rota.
The service makes a total of 497 stops a year in towns and rural communities.
The council has already made a third of the necessary savings to the mobile library service by having two vehicles run by only one member of staff.
The consultation will begin this autumn and final recommendations are expected to be brought forward in spring 2013.
Late last year the council agreed that 21 of its public libraries would be staffed by volunteers to save money.
A controversial plan to close some of them was scrapped after public uproar.
Peter Brittin, from Long Hanborough, said: “The mobile library is important. It is a social resource as well as a cultural one.
“The mobile library is the only library we have got close by and it is absolutely superb.”
Council spokesman Martin Crabtree said: “The review is about moving towards providing better services, not making cuts.
“We are already well on the way to making the savings.
“The purpose of the review is to look at coordinating services to ensure we are reaching as many people as possible and providing services that are most appropriate.”
The consultation will be discussed at the meeting of the safer and stronger communities scrutiny committee on Monday at 10am.
It is taking place at County Hall in Oxford and is open to the public.