Library faces use it or lose it’ threat

PUBLISHED: 12:11 16 February 2006 | UPDATED: 09:40 06 May 2010

Use it or lose it...

Use it or lose it...

PROPOSALS to close a small public library could go ahead unless more people use its facilities. The future of Jackmans Library, in Ivel Court, Letchworth GC, is under threat after a meeting of the Hertfordshire County Council s culture and libraries panel

PROPOSALS to close a small public library could go ahead unless more people use its facilities.

The future of Jackmans Library, in Ivel Court, Letchworth GC, is under threat after a meeting of the Hertfordshire County Council's culture and libraries panel proposed its closure for September this year.

The library is one of four in the county that accounts for just over one per cent of all library visitors.

County councillor Nigel Agar, who is part of the panel that proposed the closure, said he does not want to see the library shut but its future may depend on whether more people use its facilities.

He said: "We'd better think very clearly before closing any facilities. I don't want Jackmans Library to be closed but there is only a small number of people visiting it. People concerned should use the facilities more and read more books."

Cllr Agar said the library was not expensive to run as it only had one member of staff, but other contributing factors led to the panel's decision.

"Libraries are facing a lot of competition these days. There are lots of bookstores and even coffee shops now where you can read a book and relax," he said.

Bert Melton, who is on the committee of Jackmans Community Centre, situated next door to the library, is worried that the closure will hurt both the young and the old who use it.

He said: "There are a lot of pensioners on this estate and they will have to travel further to the next library. This library is educational for youngsters who could make good use of it.

"If they close it because it is taking up room that could be used for other facilities, I don't mind, as long as they open up another library."

Jane Vine, Herts County Council media manager, said the decision is not yet final but identifying libraries for closure is part of a scheme to improve the library buildings network.

Many libraries will be open for longer hours and will be located in modern buildings.

She said: "In the long term this will mean replacing 11 local libraries and refurbishing another five over the next 10 years."

One of the libraries identified as a priority for replacement is Stevenage Central.

The panel decision will be put to a full cabinet meeting on March 20.

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