Mobile library services across the county are being withdrawn
ALL mobile library services across the county are being withdrawn.
And villagers in Blackwells End, Hartpury, are frustrated that their once-fortnightly service, run by Gloucestershire County Council, will end in July. But they are also enraged by a letter from council leader Mark Hawthorne saying it would be cheaper for the council to buy books from Amazon and give them to Hartpury residents, than continue to run the mobile library service.
LETTER: Adele O'Connor, Wendy and Oliver Bookham, Lucy Houldey and Jon Burcher.
Adele O'Connor, of Windmill Cottage, said: "His letter is condescending, and basically says if you want books buy them. We've all been extremely upset about it."
Adele wrote a letter to express her grievance that the monthly service would be axed. The nearest library to the village is Newent Library and she's been forced to use Tewkesbury to return books.
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She said of the 32 people who live by the stop, 12 residents regularly take out books.
Neighbour Lucy Houldey cares for Jon Burcher, 39, who has Down's syndrome. She said the letter was "ridiculous".
A former English teacher, Lucy takes out 10 books every time the library visits, including early-learning books for Jon, who has a reading age of five. She said: "There are a lot of people like John. It is incredibly important."
The letter says that a low number of users and high cost means it is not "possible or sensible" to continue to run the service.
It reads: "We will be announcing, for most people, a new virtual library service. That will let everyone in the county borrow books from the comfort of their own home, and have them delivered to a library near them for collection, perhaps whilst on a shopping trip."
The letter states that those who choose to use the service will be able to have their books delivered to their home for a fee, while older and vulnerable people will get a free home delivery service.
Mr Hawthorne said: "We are taking measures to ensure that older and vulnerable people without internet access can still use the new virtual library service. That might be through a friendly neighbour, village agents, or paper-based catalogues."