Mixed reaction to relaxing rules at Shropshire libraries

Plans to abolish strict rules on eating, drinking and the use of mobile phones in libraries across Shropshire have been met with a mixed response from Shropshire Star readers.

Liam Stewart, who uses the library for job hunting, and student Tom Peplow, who welcomed a relaxation of the rules
Liam Stewart, who uses the library for job hunting, and student Tom Peplow, who welcomed a relaxation of the rules

Shropshire Council says it is "moving with the times" by adopting a more relaxed approach, with claims that local authority chiefs were even considering allowing picnics in a bid to attract younger people.

More than 200 readers responded to a Shropshire Star online poll yesterday, with 61 per cent opposing a relaxing of rules and 39 per cent voting in favour.

Liam Stewart, 31, from Swan Lane in Oswestry, said he used the town library a couple of a times a week to look for a job.

"The library is no longer just about books," he said. "I use the computers for research and for job hunting. If I was able to use my mobile phone in the library it would make life easier. It would also be good to have a drink by the side of me."

Tom Peplow, 17, from Oakengates in Telford, said he would also welcome a relaxation of the rules. The New College student said: "Our college library is very strict so we come to Wellington Library to study, it is very good and user-friendly."

Sarah Blake, 36, from Norton in Hales, near Market Drayton, works in marketing. She said: "I think it would be a good idea if libraries moved with the times a little bit. I think they should have designated areas where you have to quiet, where you can talk and where you can talk on mobile phones."

David Higman, 73, from Castle Street in Oswestry, did not agree. The pensioner said: "The library it should be somewhere where you can concentrate and work in peace. Gone are the days where libraries were deathly quiet and everyone was told to 'sssssh' and rightly so. But eating and drinking in the library and using mobile phones is taking things too far."

Saddaf Janjua Mehdi, 24, a support worker from Wellington, said: "I bring my clients to the library because it is a quiet and peaceful place. I don't think the changes are a good idea."

Steve Haworth, 59, the chairman of the Friends of Oswestry Library, said: "We already have a drinks dispenser and the friends have been discussing the idea of a small cafe. It would be a way of encouraging more people in and encouraging its facilities. I am not sure allowing people to take their own food in would be sensible."

Reg Cruise, 78, from Wellington in Telford, said he believed libraries should be kept as quiet places.

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