A POPULAR library in Bournemouth faces being closed and relocated.
The council is undertaking a consultation about shutting Ensbury Park library on Columbia Road and moving its services to the nearby Bournemouth Learning Centre on Ensbury Avenue.
The council, which says it needs to find £250,000 of savings from its library budget, issued a statement saying the plan “would offer customers the convenience of accessing a range of services in one location and be more cost effective”.
“Ensbury Park library receives 13,228 visits each year compared to West Howe and Springbourne libraries which receive 32,431 and 33,468 respectively,” the statement said.
Former long-serving councillor Roger West, however, said he was “shocked” by the idea.
“You cannot judge such a vital facility just on bare statistics,” said Mr West.
He added that although small, the library “punches above its weight” and is important for “the many elderly people who live nearby”.
“They hold very popular children's reading sessions in the morning and have many community events during the summer, taking advantage of the adjacent garden,” he said.
Deputy council leader Nicola Greene told the Daily Echo that no decisions have yet been made and said the authority is keen for input from residents during the consultation.
Asked whether this was being considered in the wake of central government cuts, she replied: “There is always that context”.
She said, however, that it is “early days” and that the options being considered “do not include a cessation of the Ensbury Park library service”.
She added that the library is currently open for 19.5 hours a week and that if the relocation to Bournemouth Learning Centre goes ahead, residents will be able to access the services six days a week.
Cllr Lawrence Williams, cabinet member for tourism, leisure and the arts, said: “In a challenging financial climate, I am keen to hear residents’ views about the proposal to offer more facilities to more people wanting to visit and take advantage of the Ensbury Park library service.
“We understand the value and importance that residents place on the Ensbury Park library and I would encourage all those with a view to take part in the consultation.”
The consultation will take place in November and December and will be available on the council’s website and in libraries across the town.