CAMBS: Backlash at library closure plan

More than 1,300 people have signed a petition asking Cambridgeshire County Council to reject plans to close libraries or replace staff with volunteers.

The petition comes as a consultation over changes to the library service kicks off in Huntingdon tomorrow (Tuesday March 29).

The county council must trim �3.2 million from the libraries budget over a five-year period and needs residents’ help with money-saving ideas to prevent closures.

Plans being considered include appointing an external trust to manage the service, redesigning the service, relying on community participation and volunteers, and combining the buildings with other public services.

Thirteen libraries in Cambridgeshire are under review. Plans include turning them into community hubs, sharing facilities with other agencies or as a last resort, closure.

Cllr Sir Peter Brown, cabinet member for communities, said: “With �160 million to save in the next five years we are facing some of the toughest financial choices ever.

“But we are clear that libraries are vital community hubs that we need to support and work together to keep them open.

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“We are asking communities to step forward and find out what we are proposing and how they can help.”

A public information evening is due to be held at Huntingdon Library and Archivesfrom 7pm to 9pm. Other evenings will take place at The Millennium Hall, Buckden on Friday, April 8, from 7pm to 9pm; Sawtry Community College on Monday, April 4, from 7pm to 9pm and Parish Centre, Warboys on Wednesday, May 11, from 7:30pm to 9:30pm.