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Bexley mobile library axe is "blow to the community"

PUBLISHED: 16:25 14 July 2011 | UPDATED: 15:14 15 July 2011

Irene Warner and Ken Ward at the mobile library at The Green, Bexleyheath

Irene Warner and Ken Ward at the mobile library at The Green, Bexleyheath

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The axing of the borough's mobile library service will be a "blow to the community" say residents who will no longer be able to use the service from September.

The axing of the borough’s mobile library service will be a “blow to the community” say residents who will no longer be able to use the service from September.

However neighbouring Bromley will keep its mobile operation as the boroughs become one step closer to merging its library services management.

The merger is set to be approved by Bromley councillors on Wednesday, after Bexley gave the plans the thumbs-up at a meeting on Friday, which included the closure of mobile library provision.

Ken Ward, 74, of Keswick Road, Bexleyheath who uses the mobile library on The Green in Bexleyheath every Tuesday said: “It’s a blow to the community and another blow to elderly people.

“There are worse off people than I am who won’t be able to get to Bexleyheath library.”

Library service workers were told in June that, in a bid for Bexley council to save up to £450,000, and there will be a reduction over all of 35 posts.

It came after Bexley council officers asked community groups and schools to run the mobile library service and said they had only a ‘minimal’ response.

Three schools expressed an interest in receiving the service at a reduced cost, for a reduced level of provision. One school said it was willing to purchase the service at the level advertised to them. A Bexley Council spokesman said: “If all of these offers had been accepted, the total income generated would still not be enough to achieve the cost neutral service required.

“The low level of interest demonstrated in purchasing the service has prevented its continuation.”

The service currently visits 67 borough locations, including sheltered accommodation and retirement homes. It is anticipated that the new joint shared service will be up and running by April 1, 2012.

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