Strong library support shown in human chain

FAMILIES, councillors, local library users - and even some four-legged friends - were among those who turned out in full force to show support for the library service in Stowmarket.

Town councillor Duncan Macpherson led the group in a protest against proposed cuts to library services which could privatise or close down a number of the libraries in Suffolk.

More than 100 demonstrators with pickets formed a human chain around the library, in Milton Road, on Saturday morning, to show their opposition to the Suffolk County Council (SCC) plans.

SCC is looking to make savings of 30% from the library service after the council budget was slashed this year.

But people across the county are intent on saving the libraries, and more than 1,500 people in Stowmarket have already signed a petition against the cuts.

Cllr Macpherson said: “Some people who signed the petition have realised for the first time that this has a local impact and that it actually effects their community, it’s not just some general cut backs happening in the background.

“Suffolk County Council clearly have no plans for what they are going to do in the future and are leaving libraries in the mercy of cutbacks and possible privatisation.”

Stowmarket Library is open six days a week and welcomes more than 3,000 people through its doors each week.

It provides a range of services to the community, including books, music, DVDs, internet access, and a venue for various groups to meet, including clubs for the elderly and children.

Cllr Macpherson added: “We want to protect services for the future, if anything they should be building on the library services because education is the key to young people’s future and it’s also what keeps older people active and interested, and this library in particular serves the whole range of community needs.”

For more information and to have your say on the future of Suffolk libraries, go to www.suffolk.gov.uk/LibrariesConsultation2011

Public consultation is open until April 30.