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Tuesday, 16 September 2014

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Pupils to march in plea to save Distington library

Pupils and staff at Distington Community School are planning a rally in a bid to save their local library.

A countywide shake-up could see up to 20 small libraries close, including those at Moorclose, Seaton and Distington, with mobile libraries also facing the axe.

But Kathleen Jones, assistant headteacher of Distington Community School, said that pupils and staff would march through the village with placards and banners urging people to sign their petition.

The library, which is based in the community centre, is over the road from the school.

Ms Jones said: “The library brings lots of benefits to the school and it would be a great loss not only for the school but for the community if it went.”

A date for the march is yet to be fixed but Ms Jones said it would be after the half-term holiday.

A petition, which already has 250 signatures, is being circulated around the village by the community centre committee which leases space to the library.

Alec Tomlinson, treasurer, said: “The library is our biggest payer. We have funded an extension for children’s books. If it closes it will be a big loss.”

Mary Canfield, a spokesman for the library’s 15-strong reading group, has written letters to Tony Cunningham, Workington MP and Jamie Reed, Copeland MP, councillors and Prime Minister David Cameron.

She said: “I don’t know how we would manage it was to close. Some of the people who use the library are getting on a bit or don’t have cars.”

Meanwhile, Denis Robertson, an independent Allerdale councillor who represents Moorclose in Work-ington, has written to Mr Cameron asking for help to save the library on Moorclose’s Needham Drive.

He said: “I have told him I would like help regarding the Moorclose library. I told him it was the hub of the community.”

The fight to save Seaton’s library is also gathering pace.

Trevor Fee, Allerdale, Seaton parish and county councillor, said that a public meeting would be held in St Paul’s Church in the next few weeks.

Officials stress that the changes are about modernisation, and not cost-cutting.

They believe they can offer a better service with library links where up to 400 popular titles can be borrowed through village shops, pubs, community centres and other outlets.

The council launched a review of services last April in response to a decline in usage. Its cabinet is due to consider the proposals in July following public consultation.

People with concerns about the future of their local libraries can complete and return a feedback form available from libraries, or comments can be emailed to your say@cumbriacc.gov.uk

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