Last week the newly forming ‘Friends of St Just Library’ were struggling with the news that, from 1 June, the doors of their Library will only be open for 1 whole and 2 half days.
Delia Webb summed up the feelings of the group by saying “Libraries are not just collections of books – they are collections of people. The very old can sit alongside the very young and share the search for adventure, knowledge, laughter or wonder. How many other places does this happen? In St Just we really value these opportunities for the generations to meet and be together – reducing our libraries opening hours will have a massive impact.”
In St Just, the Library is the only place in the town with public access computers and Internet and it hosts the Town’s Tourist Information Centre.
Jill Crisp, recently unemployed said, “For job seekers, they are expected to do everything on the Internet. I am worried that with the hours reduced people without a computer at home will not get enough hours to meet the Jobcentre’s expectations.”
Cornwall Councillor, Sue James explained that “In terms of local tourism, the reduced hours could not start at a worse time. I am now engaging with the Town Council, the Head of Service and a potential partner organisation to see if we can find a way to ensure that the needs of tourists and local businesses, dependent of tourism, can still be served this summer.”
Kate Beckly has been regularly expressing her concern for the community groups that currently meet there. She says “There are 9 active groups meeting at the Library and they cannot all be accommodated into the reduced hours. We hope the Council will talk with us to find a way those groups can all still meet.”
On Monday St Just Town Council discussed the situation and the clerk, Elaine Baker, summed up the position as “The Town Council will continue to work positively with Cornwall Council and Councillor Mrs James on a wider review of the Library Service following the recent decision to reduce library opening hours.”
St Just Cornwall Councillor, Sue James, has arranged a further public meeting to engage with local people to find a way to ensure that the local Library has a sustainable future. This is on Monday 31 March at 6.30 p.m. at the Methodist Chapel Hall. Sue concluded “I want us to get to a position of being able to open the doors more than they are closed. That will take the full co-operation of all those who are passionate about our Library.”