Hawkhurst library tells council it wants books instead of computers
WE WANT books in our library, not computers, was the message from Hawkhurst to Kent County Council.
As part of Kent County Council's moves to make £1 million savings in library services, each facility in the Tunbridge Wells borough is being reviewed. Hawkhurst Parish Council has demanded to know what it could mean for the village library, in Rye Road.
Parish councillor Margaret Brinsley, who met the council working party looking into libraries, said proposals to increase the number of computers did not make financial sense, and would have a serious impact on the number of books which could be stored there.
She said: "The information they gave us is that it costs £30,000 a year to run the library but that about a third of that is used on the computers.
"There are only two computers so that just seems a vast amount of money.
"The position is that Hawkhurst is incredibly well-used – there were 20,000 items borrowed and 14,000 visits to the library for the year 2010/11, not bad at all considering our population is 2,700.
"We were assured the library won't be closed.
"They want to see if there was any way the village could come up with cost-cutting ideas, but I don't know if there is a huge amount they could save without affecting the service.
"Some libraries are sharing their building with other services but our building is so small there is no way we could do that.
"So we are very alert to the fact our library could be at risk."
She said they were hoping to meet county council representatives at their meeting in September.
Tunbridge Wells borough councillor John Cunningham, who is part of the working party, has said more computers would be welcomed in Hawkhurst library, however Mrs Brinsley disagreed.
She said: "Increasing the number of computers would take too much room, we have two there now and we had to remove a lot of books to fit them in.
"The computers are vital as they are used by those looking for jobs but they aren't used as much as the books."
Mr Cunningham said: "Hawkhurst has got a good lending rate. The amount of books they lend outnumbers any other library outside of Tunbridge Wells.
"I cannot see any reason why they should consider doing anything like closing it."