A number of libraries in East Sussex could be closed by the county council due to ‘cuts in funding from central government’.
Proposals are to close seven out of 24 library buildings in the county, in areas including Ore, Ringmer, Langney, Pevensey Bay, Polegate and Willingdon, which would reportedly save the council more than £650,000.
The council said the number of people using libraries locally has fallen by 40 per cent in the last ten years, and the plans would leave 92 per cent of library members unaffected.
However, there has been opposition to plans, including from the Friends of Pevensey Bay Library.
Margaret Martin from the group said:
“They [libraries] are integral to the community, because even though you have the electronic services where you can go online and order your books, you need somewhere to go to collect the books you order, and also I think for many people they do not want, as they get older, just to be shut within the four walls of their health.
“This kind of experience is what builds communities and that’s the disappointing thing about the county council, is that they haven’t really truly recognised the significance libraries have within the community.”
The council is also considering no longer running its mobile library service, but said they would provide additional support to a home service for people unable to travel.
A community library card would also be available, which would allow for large numbers of books to be borrowed in venues including village halls or community centres.
Nick Skelton, assistant director for communities, said:
“The need for siginificant savings, due to cuts in funding from central government, has left us with no option but to review how our library service is delivered.
“It is vital we focus our resources where they will make the biggest difference, through services which help children to learn to read and write and adults to find jobs and learn digital skills.
“With reductions in funding and changes to how the service is being used, we feel this is the best way to ensure we continue to offer a comprehensive service across the whole county and play our part in improving the lives of our residents.
“These proposals would allow us to expand the services and materials available online.”
A cabinet meeting to discuss plans is due to be held on Tuesday (September 19).