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Library Extra is a 'double charge' for residents

Spotlight on Arbury - Arbury Court Library. Pic - Richard Marsham
Spotlight on Arbury - Arbury Court Library. Pic - Richard Marsham

Increased costs for using library services has come under fire.

Concerns are being raised that a “two-tier” library service is being created by the county council that may marginalise low income and vulnerable residents.

A Library Extra Scheme is to be introduced that would give paying members “a range of value-added special membership benefits” such as “premium member receptions”.

A £1 per hour charge for computer use by adults in libraries is also proposed and is being further explored to give more flexibility.

Cllr Jocelynne Scutt, Labour county councillor for Arbury, has said that plans to commercialise libraries and introduce premium memberships is “fundamentally against the purpose and vision of libraries”.

She said: “Our library services are, and must remain, trusted spaces open to all where anyone can explore and share reading, information, knowledge and culture.

“The Conservative-led county council has just agreed an increase in council tax, a cost also borne by many low income residents, so adding extra charges for using libraries is a double charge on the least well-off. It should be using the additional revenue generated to protect this service as free and open to all.”

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