Hitchin woman starts campaign to save Hertfordshire mobile library service

Grace Read with her daughter, Evie, 2

Grace Read with her daughter, Evie, 2 - Credit: Archant

Stories highlighting the importance of Hertfordshire’s mobile libraries are being sought for a campaign started by a Hitchin woman trying to save the service.

Grace Read is starting a petition in a bid to keep the county council scheme which delivers books to out of town areas running.

Under County Hall’s Inspiring Libraries consultation there are plans to cut the mobile libraries and replace them with home delivery services to try to save money.

The 30-year-old, who lives in Mattocke Road, said: “My main concern is that not everyone will be covered by the new service.

“I get the feeling cutting the vans is already a done deal, but I want the voices to be heard. I just have a hope that by speaking out it might change something.”

Grace and her daughter Evie, two, started using the service which stops near their house at John Baker Place a year ago. The mother-of-one does not have a car and the nearest library is a 25-minute walk away.

She said: “Evie calls it the book bus and she gets so excited to go to it, because it is so close a visit can coincide with a trip to the park or shops.”

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The council is looking at cutting the service – which costs £14 per person – and wants to find a cheaper and more effective way to manage the system.

Grace said: “I think it is worth the money because it improves lives and you cannot put a price on that. If you want to nurture curiosity, inspire experiences, you need libraries.”

Councillor Frances Button, cabinet member for libraries, said: “We learned from last year’s consultation that more than three quarters of those using the mobile library service also use one of our 46 libraries.

“We are considering, as an alternative, extending our home library service for those who cannot visit a library due to disability or mobility difficulties, to ensure they are not left without access to books.”

Grace wants to collect as many stories as possible and will then hand them into County Hall on December 7 – the day before the consultation ends.

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