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Concerns raised over future of Sandwich Library and possible cuts to services after Kent County Council announced changes


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Concerns have been raised over the future of Sandwich Library and possible cuts to services.

Speaking at the Sandwich Town Council meeting last week, Cllr Paul Carter explained he was against the proposal to put libraries under the responsibility of a charitable trust.

He said: “KCC should find some other cut somewhere else.

A lack of WiFi in many libraries is fuelling their decline according to a government survey
A lack of WiFi in many libraries is fuelling their decline according to a government survey

“KCC could off-load it to a charitable trust, and if it didn’t thrive or get the funding it required they would have to make cuts.

“The charitable trust could then have to make the cuts and it wouldn’t seem to be done by KCC.

“I think there will be a large number of people that will be fighting to see KCC keep it and fund it properly.”

The meeting followed Kent County Council’s announcement that libraries across Kent are set to be run by a charitable trust.

The 12-week consultation on a proposal to contract out the job of running libraries has started, as the county council bids to save money in the face of a public sector spending squeeze.

One advantage is the trust would be exempt from paying business rates, which cost KCC about £500,000 a year.

KCC has said no closures are expected “at the present time”, but changes are likely.

Cllr John Bragg explained that he was not surprised by the proposals.

"KCC should find some other cut somewhere else." - Cllr Carter.

He said: “The number of books lent from the libraries is going down every year.”

However, he said he wanted to encourage anybody who wished to keep the library going.

The Sandwich Library Guild is hosting a public meeting to discuss the proposals and the future of the library at the Guildhall on Wednesday, February 18, at 7.30pm.

This will give residents the opportunity to say what they think about the plans.

Members of the guild are also running a stall in the town centre today (Saturday) to celebrate National Library Day, raise awareness of the proposals and promote the meeting.

There will also be an information event, part of the consultation roadshow on Thursday, March 26, at Sandwich Library, Market Street from 2pm until 5pm.

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