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Friends of St Just Library hand petition to Cornwall Council's Adam Paynter

By CMScott  |  Posted: March 10, 2014

Young and old campaigned outside St Just Library. PZPM20140301B-002_C

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Concerned St Just residents travelled up to Truro this morning to deliver a 1,500 strong petition to the head of library services at County Hall as part of their campaign to protect their library.

The petition follows a number of events designed to highlight Cornwall Council’s proposal to cut nine hours from library opening times.

The cuts, which would come into force at the beginning of June, would mean that the library would only be open for one full day and two half days each week.

Friends of St Just Library handed the petition to Councillor Adam Paynter, the Cornwall Council cabinet member responsible for libraries, at 9.30am this morning.

Townsfolk say the cuts “would have a disproportionately adverse effect on the local community, with its remote location meaning access to an alternative public library and all its resources is very difficult. “

The library is home to nine regular community groups, as well as providing internet access, newspapers, tourist information, photocopying and of course, books.

Kate Beckly from Friends of St Just Library said: “There is no other public access to the internet in St Just, and being in the heart of a world heritage site the local tourist industry relies heavily on the Tourist Information centre to give information to visitors, an essential part of the local economy.

“A trip by public transport to Penzance is time-consuming, and expensive, especially following the recent fare rises and reduction in services for local buses, but would be the only way St Just residents without a car could access the services in Penzance’s library.”

St Just residents demonstrated their support for the library by taking part in a mass book withdrawal on Friday February 28.

More than 500 people were recorded using the library on that that day alone, with over 3,600 issues and renewals.

The following day at midday there was a gathering of more than 200 hundred people of all ages outside the library to join hands around it, in a public gesture of support for maintaining the current library opening hours.

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