Just 40p a month will meet the shortfall, says Upton Town Council

Upton upon Severn library is under threat

Upton upon Severn library is under threat

First published in News
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RESIDENTS will be asked to dig into their own pockets to ensure their library remains open.

Concerned councillors in Upton upon Severn have come up with a plan for every household in the town and surrounding areas to pay a monthly council tax supplement to keep the prized facility going.

They say they have been told by Worcestershire County Council that the library needs to find annual savings of £25,000.

Mayor Peter Webb fears the library could close as soon as April if the town’s book lovers do not take action.

They will ask every household in Upton and six surrounding parishes to pay a monthly council tax supplement of 40p for the next five years to guarantee the library’s survival over that period. This would raise about £15,000 a year, with councillors confident the additional £10,000 savings required can be achieved by using more volunteers.

The proposal will now be put to neighbouring councils while Upton residents will receive a knock on their door asking if they support the plan.

This will happen immediately, with concerns mounting over the imminent threat to the library and the fact parishes are already finalising council tax demands for the year ahead.

Councillor Simon Yates said he felt councillors had been “kept in the dark” over the extent of the threat to the library.

“Some of us said a year-and-a-half ago we needed to go to the public but that never happened and now we have to do it in three weeks,” he said.

“To get them involved at this late stage might be tricky but I think it is do-able and I think this is a very good option to find another way to pay for the library.”

Coun Webb said there had been reassurances over the future of the library but the extent of the threat had been revealed recently.

“We have still not been told in clear terms what will happen to the library if we do nothing, but I do not believe that is an option,” he said.

Kathy Kirk, strategic libraries and learning manager at the county council, said: ”We are trying to avoid closing libraries and are working with councils across the county. In Upton, we are working with the town council to explore options which will reduce running costs.”

Other parishes which will be asked to consider paying to keep the library open are Hanley Castle, Hill Croome, Earls Croome, Ripple, Severn Stoke and Croome D’Abitot and Longdon, Holdfast and Queenhill.

Upton town clerk Jo Adams warned the library’s future could rely on their support.

“Upton cannot afford to do this on its own,” she said.

Are you willing to pay to keep Upton library open? Have your say using the comment form below.

Comments (10)

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7:38pm Fri 20 Dec 13

Old Uncle says...

Libraries are in need of a major rethink of what services they should provide in this day and age. People are going more and more digital and thus e-books are becoming more popular. Dead tree editions can be kept in a central, more efficient location and requested for delivery to the local library.
The need for internet access in libraries is likely to diminish with more and more mobile capability. Reference works are also more digital.
And, what proportion of the population is using libraries?
Libraries are in need of a major rethink of what services they should provide in this day and age. People are going more and more digital and thus e-books are becoming more popular. Dead tree editions can be kept in a central, more efficient location and requested for delivery to the local library. The need for internet access in libraries is likely to diminish with more and more mobile capability. Reference works are also more digital. And, what proportion of the population is using libraries? Old Uncle
  • Score: 10

10:45pm Fri 20 Dec 13

PrivateSi says...

I'd rather have more Public Houses than Public Libraries, Taxers & Subsidisers... Old Uncle says it all...
I'd rather have more Public Houses than Public Libraries, Taxers & Subsidisers... Old Uncle says it all... PrivateSi
  • Score: -2

7:35am Sat 21 Dec 13

laidback says...

Upton Town Councillors may well find themselves in breach of Statute if they continue to push this one. Under the Public Libraries and Museums Act 1964 (1)(2) it is illegal to make a separate charge to the public for council owned public library services. Gloucester CC among others is currently under investigation for attempting such. Do not these people seek legal advice before dreaming up such schemes and do they not educate themselves in their duties and responsibilities before standing for public office?
Upton Town Councillors may well find themselves in breach of Statute if they continue to push this one. Under the Public Libraries and Museums Act 1964 (1)(2) it is illegal to make a separate charge to the public for council owned public library services. Gloucester CC among others is currently under investigation for attempting such. Do not these people seek legal advice before dreaming up such schemes and do they not educate themselves in their duties and responsibilities before standing for public office? laidback
  • Score: 5

1:00pm Sat 21 Dec 13

Bufton Tufton says...

Excluding specialist academic repositories most Public Library lending is simply for entertainment/leisur
e reading for the middle classes. Books are now very cheap and the charity shops ( of which most towns have many ) are stuffed full of them. Charges are already made for borrowing DVDs/CD"s and I would like to see the law changed if necessary to allow charging for the printed word. Better still, close most libraries down, its simply a form of entertainment on the council tax. I bet its mostly Mills and Boon/Chick-lit that's borrowed rather than stuff of real worth.
Excluding specialist academic repositories most Public Library lending is simply for entertainment/leisur e reading for the middle classes. Books are now very cheap and the charity shops ( of which most towns have many ) are stuffed full of them. Charges are already made for borrowing DVDs/CD"s and I would like to see the law changed if necessary to allow charging for the printed word. Better still, close most libraries down, its simply a form of entertainment on the council tax. I bet its mostly Mills and Boon/Chick-lit that's borrowed rather than stuff of real worth. Bufton Tufton
  • Score: -7

2:27pm Sun 22 Dec 13

pinkfluff says...

Bufton Tufton wrote:
Excluding specialist academic repositories most Public Library lending is simply for entertainment/leisur

e reading for the middle classes. Books are now very cheap and the charity shops ( of which most towns have many ) are stuffed full of them. Charges are already made for borrowing DVDs/CD"s and I would like to see the law changed if necessary to allow charging for the printed word. Better still, close most libraries down, its simply a form of entertainment on the council tax. I bet its mostly Mills and Boon/Chick-lit that's borrowed rather than stuff of real worth.
Stuff of real worth?? I'm sure Mills and Boon/Chick-lit has real worth to people who enjoy reading it.

If a library is popular and lending I am sure it should remain open, it's not important what is being loaned out.
[quote][p][bold]Bufton Tufton[/bold] wrote: Excluding specialist academic repositories most Public Library lending is simply for entertainment/leisur e reading for the middle classes. Books are now very cheap and the charity shops ( of which most towns have many ) are stuffed full of them. Charges are already made for borrowing DVDs/CD"s and I would like to see the law changed if necessary to allow charging for the printed word. Better still, close most libraries down, its simply a form of entertainment on the council tax. I bet its mostly Mills and Boon/Chick-lit that's borrowed rather than stuff of real worth.[/p][/quote]Stuff of real worth?? I'm sure Mills and Boon/Chick-lit has real worth to people who enjoy reading it. If a library is popular and lending I am sure it should remain open, it's not important what is being loaned out. pinkfluff
  • Score: 3

7:34pm Sun 22 Dec 13

Bufton Tufton says...

pinkfluff wrote:
Bufton Tufton wrote:
Excluding specialist academic repositories most Public Library lending is simply for entertainment/leisur


e reading for the middle classes. Books are now very cheap and the charity shops ( of which most towns have many ) are stuffed full of them. Charges are already made for borrowing DVDs/CD"s and I would like to see the law changed if necessary to allow charging for the printed word. Better still, close most libraries down, its simply a form of entertainment on the council tax. I bet its mostly Mills and Boon/Chick-lit that's borrowed rather than stuff of real worth.
Stuff of real worth?? I'm sure Mills and Boon/Chick-lit has real worth to people who enjoy reading it.

If a library is popular and lending I am sure it should remain open, it's not important what is being loaned out.
I do agree that any fiction that the reader enjoys is of worth to that individual, but should council tax payers be expected to subsidize the novel reading hobby of others? I might enjoy watching TV. Do I expect the council to pay for my TV license and provide me with a set? No! I might enjoy going to see a film at the cinema, perhaps even "the film of the book". Do I expect the council to pay for my visits to the local cinema? No! Then why is the consumption of fiction in the format of pages between covers given special status? I maintain this is simply an historical hangover from the time when books were expensive and were one of the few means of self improvement available to the literate poor. I have no doubt that if you were to steer people toward there local Waterstones Bookshop and allow them to read any book they liked for free, this would be popular; or you would think so anyway. In fact, public library use is in general decline. Also, there is so much second hand reading material available in charity shops that no one is really going to suffer if the local library closes. They may have to change their habits of course. Libraries were not always free. Boots the chemist used to run a large book lending library service in many of its shops from the early 1900s until 1961.
[quote][p][bold]pinkfluff[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Bufton Tufton[/bold] wrote: Excluding specialist academic repositories most Public Library lending is simply for entertainment/leisur e reading for the middle classes. Books are now very cheap and the charity shops ( of which most towns have many ) are stuffed full of them. Charges are already made for borrowing DVDs/CD"s and I would like to see the law changed if necessary to allow charging for the printed word. Better still, close most libraries down, its simply a form of entertainment on the council tax. I bet its mostly Mills and Boon/Chick-lit that's borrowed rather than stuff of real worth.[/p][/quote]Stuff of real worth?? I'm sure Mills and Boon/Chick-lit has real worth to people who enjoy reading it. If a library is popular and lending I am sure it should remain open, it's not important what is being loaned out.[/p][/quote]I do agree that any fiction that the reader enjoys is of worth to that individual, but should council tax payers be expected to subsidize the novel reading hobby of others? I might enjoy watching TV. Do I expect the council to pay for my TV license and provide me with a set? No! I might enjoy going to see a film at the cinema, perhaps even "the film of the book". Do I expect the council to pay for my visits to the local cinema? No! Then why is the consumption of fiction in the format of pages between covers given special status? I maintain this is simply an historical hangover from the time when books were expensive and were one of the few means of self improvement available to the literate poor. I have no doubt that if you were to steer people toward there local Waterstones Bookshop and allow them to read any book they liked for free, this would be popular; or you would think so anyway. In fact, public library use is in general decline. Also, there is so much second hand reading material available in charity shops that no one is really going to suffer if the local library closes. They may have to change their habits of course. Libraries were not always free. Boots the chemist used to run a large book lending library service in many of its shops from the early 1900s until 1961. Bufton Tufton
  • Score: -4

8:58am Mon 23 Dec 13

Mike Ostick says...

Upton Library is an important local community resource. To provide a perspective to earlier comments.....in 2012, it had more than 33,000 visitors, more than 32,000 books were issued, over 3,500 users of the free on-line computers, and it serves a catchment area of nearly 8,000 residents.

Mike Ostick.
Upton Library is an important local community resource. To provide a perspective to earlier comments.....in 2012, it had more than 33,000 visitors, more than 32,000 books were issued, over 3,500 users of the free on-line computers, and it serves a catchment area of nearly 8,000 residents. Mike Ostick. Mike Ostick
  • Score: 3

12:42pm Mon 23 Dec 13

Grumbleweed Connection says...

Public Libraries and Museums Act 1964

When deciding what changes to make to public libraries, local authorities are legally obliged to abide by the Public Libraries and Museums Act 1964. This Law means that public libraries are a statutory service; councils have a legal duty to provide them. Councils must ensure that the service they provide is “comprehensive and efficient”. They also have a duty to promote the service and to encourage people to use it. The Law also makes it clear that councils cannot charge people for library facilities that make up part of their statutory provision.

Common sense dictates that the provision of such service has to be financed, however, I have no doubt that the actions of Worcestershire County Council and the response of Upton upon Severn Town Council are both illegal and in breach of the act.
Public Libraries and Museums Act 1964 When deciding what changes to make to public libraries, local authorities are legally obliged to abide by the Public Libraries and Museums Act 1964. This Law means that public libraries are a statutory service; councils have a legal duty to provide them. Councils must ensure that the service they provide is “comprehensive and efficient”. They also have a duty to promote the service and to encourage people to use it. The Law also makes it clear that councils cannot charge people for library facilities that make up part of their statutory provision. Common sense dictates that the provision of such service has to be financed, however, I have no doubt that the actions of Worcestershire County Council and the response of Upton upon Severn Town Council are both illegal and in breach of the act. Grumbleweed Connection
  • Score: 3

10:42pm Mon 23 Dec 13

Mike Ostick says...

I think the issue in the Public Libraries and Museums Act 1964 may well relate to charges at the point of use. The public have always paid for their Libraries through the precept levied by WCC as part of the Council Tax bill levied annually on each property. Mike Ostick.
I think the issue in the Public Libraries and Museums Act 1964 may well relate to charges at the point of use. The public have always paid for their Libraries through the precept levied by WCC as part of the Council Tax bill levied annually on each property. Mike Ostick. Mike Ostick
  • Score: 4

1:24pm Tue 24 Dec 13

Karl Hunderson says...

An enthusiasm for reading in a child is a proven indicator of later academic success. The better educated a society is the wealthier it is. It is therefore economic shortsightedness to try and save money by closing libraries which can help foster a love of reading in children. I for one would rather my taxes be spent on maintaining libraries than pointless new road schemes.
An enthusiasm for reading in a child is a proven indicator of later academic success. The better educated a society is the wealthier it is. It is therefore economic shortsightedness to try and save money by closing libraries which can help foster a love of reading in children. I for one would rather my taxes be spent on maintaining libraries than pointless new road schemes. Karl Hunderson
  • Score: 3

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