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Death knell for five of Plymouth's libraries

The new Central Library is painted with positive quotes about libraries - unlike today's news. Credit: ITV West Country

Five of Plymouth's libraries are to shut over the next few days.

Tomorrow, Friday 15 September, Eggbuckland library will close its doors for the last time and from Saturday afternoon, Laira, Tothill, Ernesettle and Stoke will no longer have a library.

LIBRARIES DUE TO CLOSE

  • Eggbuckland
  • Laira
  • Tothill
  • Stoke
  • Ernesettle

LIBRARIES REMAINING OPEN

  • Central
  • Crownhill
  • Devonport
  • Efford
  • Estover

  • North Prospect

  • Peverell

  • Plympton

  • Plymstock

  • Southway

  • St Budeaux

  • West Park

Laira and Stoke libraries are closing for good this weekend. Credit: ITV West Country

Of those remaining open, West Park is due to shut next year. Peverell, Efford, North Prospect and Estover will remain open, but be downgraded.

When the council was evaluating the use of the city's libraries they found that on occasion one of them had only eight visitors a week.

The council found one of its libraries had only eight visitors a week. Credit: ITV West Country

I think people realise that certain of our libraries simply weren't being patronised by people to the extent whereby it was worth keeping them. What we're trying to do is devote our resources, make that initial investment to provide facilities like in the Central library and replicate those throughout the city.

– Cllr Ian Bowyer, Leader, Plymouth City Council

The city council says that the 11 libraries that will stay open serve 96% of the people who currently use all of them. While they admit closing six is a cost-cutting measure, they say it's also about bringing this city's library service into the 21st century.

Plymouth's new Central Library is designed to encourage reading. Credit: ITV West Country

Opponents say they're taking the service away from those who need it the most.

The view is shared by teacher George Maunder, who says the city council is putting libraries out of reach for many.

The city council says it has a comprehensive plan for updating its library services. It's introducing a new 24/7 library website and mobile pop-up libraries in the areas that have lost them.

It's not just about books - libraries provide essential access to computers. Credit: ITV West Country