Plans for a community library move forwards

Save Ore Library demonstration. Photo by Roberts Photographic.
Save Ore Library demonstration. Photo by Roberts Photographic.

Plans to reopen Ore Library as a community-run facility have taken a step closer to fruition.

East Sussex County Council is recommending approval of the plan for a community library at Ore, with a final decision to be taken by the lead member for resources in June.

It is also recommending approval of plans for community libraries at three other facilities it either owns or leases – Pevensey Bay, Polegate and Willingdon.

The libraries are among seven which closed earlier this month following a major service review prompted by the need to save money due to Government funding cuts.

Nick Skelton, East Sussex County Council assistant director for communities, said: “We are pleased to have received proposals from all those organisations which expressed an interest in taking over the running of these libraries.

“Although some libraries have closed, we have always been committed to working with communities who wanted to retain a facility in their town or village.

“The proposals we are recommending for approval are those which have in place the necessary expertise and a sound business plan, and which are capable of running without continuing financial support from the council.

“As the libraries in Ore, Pevensey Bay, Polegate and Willingdon are buildings we either own or lease, the final decision on these proposals will be taken by the lead member for resources.”

The proposals for Ore, Pevensey Bay and Willingdon would see them operating as volunteer-run community libraries with Ore run by Ore Community Association, Pevensey Bay by Volunteers Network and Willingdon by Willingdon & Jevington Parish Council.

Subject to approval by the lead member, the council would support the bidding organisations by allowing them rent-free use of the building, fixtures and fittings and an initial selection of reading materials for adults and children.

The libraries closed as part of a modernisation and rationalisation of library services which also includes new community and teacher’s library cards, homework and study clubs in libraries and increased outreach work in the county’s most disadvantaged communities, particularly focusing on improving literacy and numeracy. 
The new community libraries would not form part of the statutory library service provided by the council.