Rural residents could be left isolated by change to mobile library
RURAL residents who rely on a mobile library service will be isolated if a route is taken away, people have argued.
Carlin Anderson, 58, a childminder from Bourton-on- the-Hill, and Judy Monger, 81, from Somerford Keynes, have spoken out about changes to the service.
Both women said they felt "left in the dark" by Gloucestershire County Council as not all details about the changes had been revealed.
But GCC said it had contacted thousands of users to alert them to changes in the months leading up to the withdrawal of the mobile libraries.
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They said residents were aware a modified service would be resumed from mid-December.
The county is served by three mobile libraries: central mobile, covering Stroud and the surrounding area, east mobile, touring the Cotswolds, and west mobile, which visits the Forest and its surrounds. But changes to the routes are yet to be announced.
Carlin Anderson, whose grandchildren and friends used the service in "isolated" Bourton-on-the-Hill, said it was only after being directed to a "small white notice" in the vehicle, that she discovered that visit was to be the last, she said.
"We are being penalised just because we are a small rural village.
"We just want 10 minutes at a regular time – it doesn't even have to be every fortnight, it can be every six weeks.
"If it's going to Blockley surely, then they can come to Bourton-on-the-Hill too."
Judy, who had used the service for 54 years, said she currently had books that could be returned in January, but the service would change in December. "We will have to wait to see if we are still on the visiting list. Surely someone must know," she said.
Carlin said mobile libraries were important to her.
"I'm a child minder and I also have small grandchildren," said Carlin.
"I wouldn't want to get the public service bus down to Moreton-in-Marsh when I've got bags and buggies and nappies with me.
"And I don't want to pre-order on the internet. I like to pick up a book, and look through it, look at the blurb, read a couple of pages. It's all part of it."
Library services manager Jo Hand at Gloucestershire County Council said those voicing fears about the mobile library services were in the minority.
"The overwhelming majority of those residents have told us they are able to make alternative arrangements," she said.
"Where users have said that this will be difficult, we have agreed a range of alternatives with them, for example, providing transport to a library club."