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Last Updated: Friday, 13 January 2006, 15:45 GMT
Libraries closure plan considered
Library
The council said the plans were not a cost-cutting measure
Twelve libraries have been earmarked for closure under proposals being considered by Devon County Council.

Councillors are to consider shutting smaller branches which are under-used and reinvesting the money in other library services.

Branches which could be closed include: Appledore, Colyton, Geneva, Heavitree, Ipplepen, Kingskerswell and Sidmouth.

Local people are being promised their say on the proposed closures, but staff and users said they were appalled.

LIBRARIES UNDER THREAT
Appledore
Colyton
Geneva, Bideford
Heavitree, Exeter
Ipplepen
Kingskerswell
Kingsteignton
Kingswear
Pinhoe
Primley, Sidmouth
Stoke Fleming
Shaldon
The council has identified libraries which it says are under-used, near a much larger library, or have problems such as major repair needs or poor parking.

But staff and users have said they are appalled at the news.

Marguerite Burtenshaw, 95, from Ipplepen, said she read four books a month, and was "absolutely disgusted" at the plans.

She said: "I hope it doesn't come to fruition because it's going to take so much from older people."

Kingsteignton librarian Brenda Warren added that she thought the plans would damage communities.

She said: "I care about people losing this vital facility, and I'm sure that they all going to be cross when they hear it may close.

"Why spoil a community?"

Independent review

The council said it was not a cost-cutting measure and that the money saved would be re-invested in longer opening hours at other libraries, extending mobile services, increasing outreach work and improving computer facilities.

The plans follow an independent review by the Improvement and Development Agency which found "an uneven spread of service in terms of buildings, access, stock, services and staff which are based on a historical context".

Councillors will consider the proposals at a meeting of the council's Executive Committee on Monday.

The council said it was spending 2.1m on new library buildings around the county.

People are also being promised their say on the proposed closures through a series of public meetings.


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