Proposed Somerset library cuts cancelled

A series of library funding cuts in Somerset will not go ahead, councillors have decided.

Somerset County Council wanted to make funding cuts but the High Court found they did not comply with equality laws.

Eleven libraries will now keep their funding, four mobile libraries will be reinstated and opening hours at 23 libraries will increase.

About £600,000 will be spent on self service technology at some of the county's busiest libraries.

'Equality duties'

Christine Lawrence, Somerset County Council's cabinet member for community services, said the self-service technology would help modernise the service.

"However, given the extreme financial pressures all council services are under, we still need to consider the future funding and shape of libraries and this decision sets out the process by which that can happen," she added.

At the High Court in November, Judge Martin McKenna said the library closures did not comply with "public sector equality duties" owed to vulnerable social groups.

A council spokesman said the library service would be reviewed, along with all the authority's services, over the next 18 months.

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