More Surrey libraries could close to save council money

The number of libraries threatened by cuts in Surrey has risen from 10 to 19, according to council papers.

The Conservative-led Surrey County Council has said more libraries may have to lose their paid staff.

Opposition councillors have said the council has "put a gun against the head" of communities by forcing them to volunteer or lose their libraries.

However, the deputy leader said he wants to "unleash libraries" to create a "cultural revolution" in Surrey.

David Hodge, deputy leader of Surrey County Council, said a decision would be made on 27 September at the county's cabinet meeting.

"Our aim is to keep all of Surrey's 52 libraries open while other counties are closing theirs," he said.

"What we're doing in Surrey is different to everybody else, we're continuing to fund the building costs, the equipments costs and library books.

"What we're trying to do is actually take away the whole concept that library buildings are just for libraries."

Mr Hodge said different groups could take over the staffing of the libraries and add new services.

But Liberal Democrat Councillor John Orrick said: "Surrey Conservatives have finally come clean about their plans to force even more local communities to take over the council's responsibilities.

"These local communities have a gun against their head, either take over running the library or Conservative Surrey County Council will close it.

Libraries in Ash, Caterham Hill, Frimley Green, Hersham, Horsley, Knaphill, Lightwater, Shepperton and West Byfleet have been added to the existing under threat list of Bagshot, Bramley, Byfleet, Ewell Court, Lingfield, New Haws, Stoneleigh, Tattenhams, Viriginia Water and Warlingham.

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