Villagers unite to empty Braunton Library of books

Young Theo Trueman, aged four, with the pile of books he has collected. Young Theo Trueman, aged four, with the pile of books he has collected.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014
1:45 PM

Community turns out in force to support the Big Borrow on Saturday at their much-loved local library.

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Villagers queue up outside Braunton Library for the Big Borrow event on Saturday.Villagers queue up outside Braunton Library for the Big Borrow event on Saturday.

BRAUNTON villagers turned out in their hundreds on Saturday to strip their library of books in support of the Big Borrow.

Campaigners from Save Braunton Library had called on people to join them in maxing out their library cards to borrow as many books as possible and demonstrate just how much their library means to them.

The display of solidarity was intended for the decision makers at Devon County Council, which is currently consulting on its library service in a bid to save £1.5million in the next two years.

The consultation ends on Thursday of next week (July 17) and Saturday’s event gave the opportunity to raise awareness and give more people the chance to complete consultation forms.

Andy and Mimi McAuley with their books from Braunton Library.Andy and Mimi McAuley with their books from Braunton Library.

“It was a great success, we saw an overwhelming turnout from the community,” said Ben Hewitt of Save Braunton Library.

“We counted close to 350 people and they were taking armfuls of books – we literally emptied the children’s section and I think got about halfway through the main library during the morning.

“People are angry and frustrated by the cuts and it was a positive way of showing our support. This reflects the reality of how much people use it. It was also lovely to see people of all ages.”

After lobbying from campaigners, county council cabinet member, Councillor Roger Croad, who will be making the decision, agreed to ‘reclassify’ Braunton from the ‘small and less well used’ category and to place it in the ‘medium to large’ group instead.

The bare shelves following the Big Borrow.The bare shelves following the Big Borrow.

This means it would qualify for the ‘Devon centre’ model where a number of services exist under one roof.

But there is still huge uncertainly in Braunton and across North Devon as to what the ‘service review’ will mean for local libraries, though Mr Croad has pledged to keep all libraries open ‘where humanly possible’.

Consultation forms are available from local libraries or visit https://new.devon.gov.uk/libraryreview/feedback-form

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