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Last ditch attempt to save Swindon's libraries

Credit: ITV News

Campaigners will be protesting outside Swindon Borough Council later in a final bid to save some of Swindon's doomed libraries.

Senior councillors have agreed a proposal seeing Swindon's service drop from 15 libraries to just four.

The decision was made because of cuts to local Government funding. The council felt its priority should be looking after elderly and vulnerable people and it could make savings from the existing £2.6 million library budget.

15
Number of libraries in Swindon at present
4
Planned number of libraries in Swindon

The following libraries will remain open

  • Highworth
  • North Swindon
  • West Swindon
  • Central Library

The task of providing a library service will be up to volunteer groups, charities, community groups and local residents. A one-off grant of £500,000 will be made available to support groups who want to do just that.

Campaigners feel that the reason the decision to close the libraries was voted through last night (14 June) was because Cabinet members were given false hope that alternatives would work.

Much was made of the 'hope' that partners would be found to take on the 11 static libraries that will face closure in June 2017.

This 'hope' was enough to carry the vote. It may be that the reason hopes are so high is because work has already started to put community solutions in place, in spite of the fact that the public has not yet been consulted.

– Sarah Church, Save Swindon's Libraries

Campaigners for the threatened libraries, supported by the Save Swindon's Libraries campaign, will be demonstrating on the Council office steps from 6.15pm.

They will be gathering ahead of the meeting of Full Council, which is due to debate the future of Highworth Library.

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