This is the campaign to keep a library in Wiveliscombe. The County Council keeps trying to close it. We, the residents, keep fighting to save it.
About the Library
The library is located in The Square right in the middle of Wiveliscombe. It is heavily used, especially by children, book clubs, people who don’t have home access to a computer, students, people who want a sit down while out shopping, and everyone else who just wants to read a book. It’s a vital part of the town’s infrastructure, and local shops report how many people shop with them after a visit to the library.
For many years the library was located in The Courthouse, but in 2010 it moved across the road to a shop unit owned by the Co-operative Group. They spent £66,000 fitting it out, and now have a 10 year lease until 2020, paying £7,500 per year rent.
In 2010 Wiveliscombe Library had 2,216 registered active users. of which 545 are children and 37 are housebound. The Library is open for 17.5 hrs per week (three and a half days). Before the move to the new building it was open two and a half days. In its last 6 months in the old building there were 24 new enrolments, in the first 6 months in the new building there were 125 enrolments.
Figures from Somerset County Council (2018) show that Wiveliscombe library has a catchment population of 6,909 people and 737 “active borrowers” (that’s 11% of the catchment population, the highest of any library in the Taunton Wellington area). The annual footfall is 22,961 – equivelant to 3.3 visits for each member of the catchment population (again, by far the highest of any library in the area – Wellington is 2.4 and Taunton is 1.7)
On 15 December 2010, Somerset County Council announced that it was proposing to close 20 of its 34 libraries. On the list was Wiveliscombe Library. On the evening of Friday 7 January 2011, 222 people attended a meeting in Wiveliscombe to voice their opposition to the closure and to form the Friends of Wiveliscombe Library (FOWL).
Our campaign to save Wiveliscombe Library ultimately lead to a High Court challenge. We won, the library was saved. Read more….
The County Council consulted on the future of libraries. Not much came of that.
2018 Closure Proposals
The County Council announced proposals to slash the number of libraries. This would include either replacing Wiveliscombe Library with a visit from the mobile library, or transferring it to community management. Read their justification and assessment of the impact on Wiveliscombe library users. Either way, we lose. Our fight must continue.
Respond to the County Council’s consultation here: http://www.somersetconsults.org.uk/consult.ti/Libraries2018/answerQuestionnaire?qid=5004867 Please reject the options offered (replacement by a mobile library or transferring to community management) and under Q5 say that Wiveliscombe Library should be kept as it is – a public service run by the public sector. The closing date is 13 June 2018.