Plans to axe seven libraries across East Sussex, including Ore Library, are set to be confirmed next week.
East Sussex County Council, which held a 12-week consultation on its draft Libraries Strategic Commissioning strategy late last year, is also proposing to scrap the mobile library service. A decision is set to be made by the authority’s Cabinet on Tuesday, March 6.
If approved, Ore Library will close on May 5, 2018.
A spokesman for the Save Ore Library campaign group said: “It is with real sadness and anger that we learned that the Cabinet at East Sussex County Council is recommended to go ahead with the proposed closure of seven libraries, including Ore.
“The consultation has been shown to be sham as many people predicted. Despite the 1,500-signature petition and hundreds of other objections to the closure of Ore Library alone, the response shows they have not taken on board any of the points raised.
“They acknowledge that Ore library serves some of the poorest communities in the county but insist that everybody lives within a 20-minute drive or 30-minute bus ride of Hastings Central library.
“That’s of no use to the more than 30 per cent of residents of Baird, Ore and Tressell wards who don’t own a car or who would have to choose between buying a family bus ticket into town or feeding their family.
“Schools quite rightly encourage parents to read with their young children but how can they do that without the variety and quantity of books that only a local library can provide?
“They boast about the new, improved eLibrary service which is great for those with access to a home computer and the Internet, but not for those who need the computers at Ore Library to do so.
“For many older people, the short walk to the local library is their one reason to get out of the house and make personal contact with another person. Closing the library can only increase their isolation with all that entails in terms of mental and physical health and well-being.
“This is the officer’s recommendation to Cabinet but it is Keith Glazier and his seven Cabinet colleagues who will make the decision on Tuesday, March 6. They still have the chance to show that they understand the needs and wishes of the people who elected them.”
Nick Skelton, assistant director of communities, said: “Closing library buildings is not a decision we take lightly and I can understand the feelings of these communities.
“We considered very carefully all the views people put forward about our proposals and we recognise there are individuals in every community with needs the library service can support.
“Faced with unprecedented levels of cuts, however, we have to prioritise our resources toward areas with the highest levels of need.”
Under the revised proposals, the council would introduce initiatives including a new community library card, homework and study clubs and greater investment in the eLibrary.
For more information on the revised proposals, click here.