Fears for future of mobile library

Tivyside Advertiser: Margaret Havard is a regular user of the mobile libary. (3989813) Margaret Havard is a regular user of the mobile libary. (3989813)

Fears have been raised that a ‘lifeline to the outside world’ for vulnerable Pembrokeshire residents could be cut.

Pembrokeshire County Council is currently carrying out a public consultation on the future of the county's mobile library service.

North Pembrokeshire residents say changes to the service could have a huge impact on people who are disabled or elderly and living in isolated rural areas.

Margaret Havard of Newport said: “There are so many retired people in Pembrokeshire that I think the scrapping of the mobile library will have a huge impact. Many of these retired people do not drive and are isolated in rural areas. I do not get out much due to my physical disabilities.

“The mobile library is one of my lifelines with the outside world. They are so good at bringing a wide selection of large-print books which I need due to my poor eyesight. The situation is awful!”

Her son Essex added: “Mum’s love of reading was something that rubbed off on me as a child and I carry that love with me to this day. The detrimental effects of social and physical isolation can be lessened through services like the mobile library. If it is taken away I worry for the continued mental health and wellbeing of the elderly residents of the county. What kind of society are we living in where such a valuable service, for such vulnerable residents, is withdrawn whilst the Chief Executive of Pembrokeshire County Council is earning more than the Prime Minister?”

Councillor Elwyn Morse, Cabinet Member for Culture, Sport and Leisure, told the Tivy-Side the council was committed to ensuring that everyone who wants to is able to access library services in Pembrokeshire.

He said: “At the moment, we are carrying out a public consultation on our proposal to replace the mobile library service with a more bespoke service to people who genuinely can’t get to a static library.

“This is to ensure that we protect the most vulnerable in our society by ensuring that they receive a personal service in their own homes."

He added: “No decisions have yet been made, and the results of the consultation will be considered by Pembrokeshire County Council’s Cabinet members.

“There is no need for anyone to worry about these proposals. Mobile library users who can access a static library will find greater choice of stock and more services there, such as free internet access. Those who can’t will be eligible for the new service or can make use of our existing Friends or Family service.”

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