Berkshire

'Funeral' protest over West Berkshire library closures

Library protest with gravestones
Image caption Campaigners walked from Newbury library to the office of MP Richard Benyon

A mock funeral has been held in protest at the decision to close libraries in West Berkshire.

Campaigners holding gravestone-shaped placards marched through Newbury on Saturday

West Berkshire Council had planned to close eight out of nine branches, but announced this week only Theale and Wash Common are to be closed.

Community groups are now able to bid for a £1.4m "transition fund" to continue running the other libraries.

'Find resources'

The library service will receive £475,000 funding over two years, to enable it to transition to a self-service system to save money.

West Berkshire Council said nearly half the comments received through a recent consultation about the funding were about keeping libraries open.

Image caption Campaigners made mock gravestones to highlight the plight of libraries in West Berkshire

The march travelled to Conservative MP for Newbury Richard Benyon's office.

Campaigners said the changes could mean some people would be left with a 20 mile journey to visit a library.

The council said: "Libraries will move to a self-service model which will allow seven branch libraries and one mobile library to remain open with only Wash Common and Theale libraries closing completely unless communities find the resources to take them on."

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