People urged to support Steyning library

RESIDENTS are urged to show they care, and get behind their library.

Steyning’s facility could be facing shorter opening times, or a cut in staff, as part of West Sussex County Council plans to cut its library budget by 15 per cent.

A library working party, made up of parish councillors, has been looking at a number of options on how money could be saved, and has called a public meeting to collect more ideas.

David Barling, chairman of the council and member of the working group, said: “The parish council is very pleased to receive assurance from West Sussex that there are no plans to actually close Steyning library,

“That does not mean, though, that we are out of the woods, because they are still conducting a review of the library, with the view to make savings, and the council is concerned about this.

“It is well used and well loved, and we would hate for anything to happen to it,” he added.

The working party has looked at various options to make savings at the library, including increasing fines and sharing the premises with other organisations, but residents are encouraged to go along to the meeting to put their own suggestions across.

Mark Taylor, director of external relations at CILIP, the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals, said: “Public libraries make an enormous contribution to learning, reading, literacy, community well-being, skills development and economic regeneration. In tough economic times, library services are needed more than ever.

“Libraries are good for our communities, good for families and good for fighting illiteracy and encouraging a love of reading.”

Mr Barling agreed that libraries were a “vital community resource”.

“We need as many people as possible to come along to the meeting, to show their support and to come up with ideas for further usages.

“We hope to protect both opening hours and staff numbers.”

The meeting will be held at The Steyning Centre, Fletchers Croft, October 6, 7.45pm. Speakers will include parish and county councillors, and West Sussex information services manager, Lesley Sim.