Wiltshire village votes for £7 council tax rise rather than lose library manager

If anyone is in doubt about the determination of small communities to support proper library services, they need look no further than Aldbourne (population 1,800), Wiltshire.

They were faced with their library losing its library manager, Trish Rushen, who was to be replaced by volunteers under their county council’s cost-cutting plans.

They have voted nearly three to one to raise their council tax by about £7 year to retain the services of Ms Rushen. Only just over a quarter of the electorate voted in a referendum, but the result shows that only 102 people balloted against.

Here in Debenham, Suffolk, where I live (just a little bigger than Aldbourne) there is a similar determination to retain a proper library, in the face of our county council’s plans to hand libraries over to communities.

Aldbourne now faces double taxation, paying a parish precept for a service which others in Wiltshire get through the county’s share of their council tax. It is an unfair solution but it demonstrates the value people place on their libraries.

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