Priorswood Library Update
On Monday (5 November), Cabinet approved the Library Redesign proposals which will see a commitment to retain 19 libraries under the authority’s control and 15 libraries set to close unless a Community Library Partnership (CPL) can be formed to run those affected. Unfortunately, Priorswood falls into the latter category.
Over the past few weeks I have held a series of meeting with officers at Somerset County Council (SCC) and most recently attended a meeting with the Friends of Taunton Library Group who have expressed an interest in creating a CLP for Priorswood Library. If this is achieved SCC originally committed to £6K annual funding for the CLP and would also match fund £1K for staff wages if the money could be raised for five years.
Whilst I am disappointed with the overall decision for Priorswood and the effect it will have on our local residents, I was delighted Leader of SCC, David Fothergill accepted my amendment to increase the match funding on offer to £3K. The annual funding commitment also increased from five to seven years. This could see a significant increase in manned staff hours of the building if we can secure external funding. SCC will also install a card-based system of access control that will enable you to enter the Library, take out or return a book or use a computer, and leave the Library when the building is unmanned.
Rest assured as your County Councillor, I am exploring every avenue to ensuring a CLP can be formed and I have several meetings lined up in the hope to secure further funding for the library.