The petition to save the mobile library service run by Devon County Council is gathering pace with over 1,700 signatures at time of going to press and more than 100 people signing every day.
Set up by Torridge Councillor Cheryl Cottle-Hunkin, the petition calls on Devon County Council to rethink its decision to axe the service to save costs. Liberal Democrat councillors have now ‘called the proposal in’, which means the plan will be considered again in September in the light of information and alternatives not previously considered.
Councillor Cottle-Hunkin said:
‘Our rural communities are being left behind and the Tories are not listening. Why was no reserve funding set aside to replace the library vehicles when they reached the end of their useful life? This smacks of poor financial management. Why was the Torrington bus not replaced when it was destroyed last year in an arson attack? It strikes me that their intention has always been to close the service and there has been a signal lack of any imaginative thinking about developing or replacing the service to meet the needs of isolated communities.’
In addition to the much-loved children’s author Michael Rosen, who emailed his whole-hearted support for the campaign, the public has weighed in behind the petition, with many signatories commenting online about how using the mobile library inspired a love of reading. Dawn Lloyd-Jones commented:
‘When I was a child we lived in the country, didn't have a television, and always looked forward to the mobile library. Myself and two of my sisters still have a love of reading now. Literacy rates need to improve, depriving people, especially young people is wrong’.
Harriet Knock wrote on Facebook that people in rural locations have unequal access to books:
‘In the cost-of-living crisis at the moment especially libraries provide such a valuable service for free, offering something fun that is accessible to everyone.’
The scrutiny meeting to reconsider the proposal will take place on 28 September at 10.30 am at County Hall in Exeter.
Sign the petition at https://www.change.org/SaveOurMobileLibrary