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Innovation key to survival of libraries

Oswestry | News | Published:

Libraries have to respond to changes in technology if they are to survive in the long-term, the leader of Shropshire Council has said.

Libraries have to respond to changes in technology if they are to survive in the long-term, the leader of Shropshire Council has said.

The county's libraries have escaped swingeing cuts in the latest review of services by Shropshire Council. But Councillor Keith Barrow has warned that if libraries do not move with the times, they may not come through any future cuts to council budgets unscathed.

Councillor Barrow was answering questions at an Oswestry business meeting.

"Libraries are incredibly important and we have managed to keep them open in Shropshire," he said.

"A review of our library service made small changes to the mobile library cover that took two vehicles off the road yet left no area without a service," he said.

"But if Shropshire Council finds itself being made to make another 25 per cent of cuts in two or three years time, one of the first services that will be scrutinised will be libraries.

"If there is a choice between social services or libraries then we would have no choice but to retain social services."

Councillor Barrow said libraries had to move with the times and that widening the services offered in the libraries was something that was already being looked at by Shropshire Council.

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There are plans to widen the services available at Oswestry library and provide a 'one-stop-shop' community hub.

"I love books and there is nothing better than turning the page of a book. However things are changing and I have to admit I have an electronic book reader," he said.

"Libraries now have to be more than just places from where you borrow books and that is happening here."

"I am not convinced that we have got our ideas for change right at this time and we are looking at it again."

"New technology is changing all the time and libraries have to respond tor they will not survive."

Oswestry teenager, Antonia Higgins, 15, has launched an online petition opposed to opening a community hub within the town's library. She said libraries should provide a sanctuary in which children and adults can learn.

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