A PROTEST was staged at Bewdley Library this morning (Wednesday) as Worcestershire County Council's cabinet member for communities visited the site as part of a consultation to change how services are delivered.

Library users across Worcestershire have been told to ‘use it or lose it’ by the county council as the authority needs to save £800,000. The future of the region’s smaller libraries hangs in the balance while a consultation takes place to review the shape and size of the library structure

Worcestershire Council's cabinet member for communities Lucy Hodgson stopped at Bewdley Library this morning during her tour of the county to address residents' concerns.

She was met at the entrance by protesters armed with a petition to keep the town library open, which has already attracted more than 600 signatures.

Bewdley town councillor Rod Stanczyszyn said: "I think Bewdley Library is severely at risk. It was bad enough that the library was moved to a smaller site.

"One of the questions being asked during this consultation is whether the library is used for community events but we're limited with what we can do in Bewdley because it's such a small space now.

"The county council is really scraping the bottom of the barrel if it decides to close Bewdley Library, because it is so small and costs such a small percentage of the council's money."

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Wyre Forest Labour leader Nigel Knowles added: "We've been petitioning to keep Bewdley Library open and people have responded in their hundreds.

"This library is virtually brand new and there is no reason it shouldn't continue long into the future.

"It may be small but it is very well used by the local community - including parents and children and the elderly, some of whom say visiting the library is the only time they leave the house.

"We've always had a library in Bewdley and we will always need one. We can't let it go."

Speaking to The Shuttle at Bewdley Library, Cllr Lucy Hodgson said: "I'll be visiting all of the libraries in Worcestershire for face-to-face discussions with residents. Bewdley is the 2nd of 23.

"This consultation is about how we run our libraries differently in order to make the savings we need to make. It is not about closing libraries.

"Yes, it may be that we do need to close a library, but that would need to be brought before cabinet at a later date and another consultation would be launched.

"Bewdley Library is a brand new building but it is not used as much as we would like. We will look at each library on its own merit."