Devon County Council are consulting with local residents about whether to end the mobile library service
The councils says it’s financial situation has never been as challenging as it is now, with soaring inflation, surging demand for vital services for vulnerable children and adults, and rapidly rising costs.
The Chair of Aveton Gifford Parish Council said: ‘’This would be devastating if its withdrawn.
‘’It has to be protected. There may not be that many people that use it but thoise who do count on it.
‘’It’s a question of morale, of quality of life.
‘’The life of the village is getting gradually eroded with facilities disappearing.
‘’The Council has communicated its view through County Councillor Rufus Gilbert.”
Devon County Council’s web site stated: “We recently agreed a budget that will increase our spending on children’s services and adult services to keep up with increasing demand.
“But spending more on priority services to meet growing demand means we must make savings elsewhere.
“We are looking across all our council services to make sure that we are getting the most value out of every penny we spend.”
The statement continued: “Three of the four current mobile libraries are about 15 years old and have reached the end of their practical life.
‘’They have become unreliable, sometimes unroadworthy, and expensive to maintain. The fourth is about nine years old.
‘’Collectively, they spent about 670 hours off the road last year and a lot of that time was due to vehicle issues and maintenance.
‘’While the vans are off the road, Libraries Unlimited have been unable to maintain a reliable mobile service.
‘’Due to our challenging financial situation, sadly we cannot afford to replace them, and therefore, we are proposing to stop the mobile library service this year.
The four mobile library services operated by Devon County Council and Libraries Unlimited have a current route of 374 stops working on a four-week rotation.
These stops include a variety of local community buildings, including churches, village halls and schools, with an average of five visitors each in stops for 2022. Most villages are timetabled to have one stop every four weeks which lasts generally for 30 minutes.
In the community, 80% of mobile library users are over the age of 41.
Mobile Library users has decreased by 44% in the last 10 years.
The Chair of Ashprington Parish Council Cllr Robert Rogers said: ‘’It’s a terrible shame for the elderly people who rely on the mobile libraries and can’t get into town.
‘’It’s all down to costs but if they’ve got to make savings, they’ve got to make savings.’’
Devon County Council would like to hear your views on the proposal by May 26 2023.
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