An uncertain future for a key community service was revealed at the latest Gorleston Area Committee meeting.
After reading about the Conservatives’ plan in Essex to shut a third of libraries, community campaigner Ron Upton felt compelled to get reassurance from local councillors, that Gorleston’s would remain open. At the public meeting, Graham Plant, Deputy Leader of Norfolk County Council and local Councillor made a “categorical pledge to keep libraries open” but “efficiencies would have to be made” and “ some services would have to operate in a different way”.
Ron Upton was not convinced, “I cannot believe this promise in the light of the budget cuts that Cllr. Plant himself described”.
The Library, which is at the heart of Gorleston’s bustling High Street, is regularly used by a variety of community groups. A large variety of services are provided including, reading and writing classes for children, topical lectures, Home-Start support for families and the Cinema Club. There is also a strong relationship with East Norfolk Sixth Form College, where students are encouraged to use the Library’s services using their own student cards.
County Councillor, Colleen Walker reiterated that £200,000 of cuts to the mobile library service have already been given the go ahead;
“Norfolk County Council is facing a potential shortfall of £45.3 million.
With more cuts to come, there is a real possibility that the Library and the range of services it provides are at risk.”
The new Gorleston Library was opened in 1977, replacing the old Victorian building.
Local Councillor Marlene Fairhead said, ‘‘There is a real threat here – it would be a great loss and sadness to the community if the Library were to close’.