Funding for libraries has become more difficult. West Berkshire Council have asked Parish Councils to help fund the Library Service each year by contributing the equivalent of £1 per head of population. Basildon Parish contributed £1740 in 2017/18 and the same amount for 2018/19.
At the recent Parish Assembly you will have heard me talk enthusiastically about the importance of supporting the service. I am the Parish Councillor who holds the library “brief”.
In Basildon Parish we benefit from being close to the Pangbourne Library but also we are lucky in having a visit from the mobile library every third Tuesday. The van parks in the St. Stephen’s Church car park on Pangbourne Road between 2.05 and 2.50. I recently visited and was shown around by the librarian who also drives the van!
The van is well stocked with books - fiction, non-fiction, children’s and large print. There are also audio books. It is easy to forget that mobile libraries will only continue to exist if they are used. In 2016 Hampshire County Council scrapped their mobile library service and this has been the fate of other mobile libraries. I think it would be a great shame if this happened in West Berkshire.
Can I encourage you, if you are able to, to make an effort to use the mobile library? Certainly, if you have small children it will be an “adventure” for them! I was surprised when I searched the library catalogue on the West Berkshire Libraries’ site - it’s very extensive and includes many recent new releases. Books can be reserved and then could be picked up from the mobile library rather than a static library. I believe that it is important that there continues to be a demand for this service or there is a chance it will cease. The next visits are June 4th and June 25th with a full timetable published on the West Berkshire Libraries’ website.
The West Berkshire Libraries’ website can be found at http://info.westberks.gov.uk/libraries.
Also of interest there for those with technology is that over 134 magazine titles are available for download for free - from the Economist to the Radio Times!
My favourite library quote is from Ray Bradbury who said “Without the library, you have no civilisation”.