Herefordshire library and museums cuts prompts petition

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in the county, as well as about half a dozen community libraries set up by volunteers after a mobile service was withdrawn in 2011, as part of council savings.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