Hereford & Worcester

Herefordshire library and museums cuts prompts petition

Hereford library
Image caption Liz Chave said Hereford Library could distribute books to community facilities across the county

More than 2,000 people have signed a petition against planned cuts to Herefordshire's libraries and museums.

Herefordshire Council is looking to make savings of £53.3m from its £331m budget by 2016.

Its cabinet is due to meet to discuss plans to reduce the culture and leisure budget, including libraries and museums, from £3m to £1.6m on Thursday.

Campaigners have called on members of the council to oppose the possible closure of libraries and museums.

There are currently 11 council-funded libraries in the county, as well as about half a dozen community libraries set up by volunteers after a mobile service was withdrawn in 2011, as part of council savings.

Community-run libraries

Councillor Liz Chave, from the It's Our County party, who is opposing cuts to library services, said: "There are statutory duties, supported by legislation, to keep a library service in the county.

"What that will look like in the future is the more debatable matter."

She said community libraries, such as one run by a church in Peterchurch, could become a popular model across the county in the future.

"The whole of culture and and leisure services accounts for just 0.2% of the budget, a tiny amount of the money Herefordshire Council has available and it potentially has a huge reach," Ms Chave said.

The Conservative-controlled Herefordshire Council has previously said the savings were as a result of central government funding cuts.

Last month it announced an extra 200 jobs could go after a review found it needed to make additional savings of £8.4m in this financial year.

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