‘Friends’ of St Just Library show their support and love
The people of St Just and Pendeen learnt that a consequence of Cornwall Council budget cuts was the proposal that the opening hours of St Just Library were to be reduced by 9 hours. If implemented, the Library will only be open the equivalent of 1 whole and 2 half days. The Library also serves as a Tourist Information point so the Library no longer being open from 9.30a.m till 6.30p.m on a Friday could affect the local Tourist economy.
Local Cornwall Councillor, Sue James, was surprised that there were only plans to consult local members, like herself, rather than a public consultation. She therefore decided to call a public meeting to find out what locals thought.
Sue James explained “Over 100 people attended that meeting and gave me a clear message: they want the hours at St Just Library preserved and are willing to do more than sit back and moan about it.”
Local people have come together to show their local Cornwall Councillor and key decision makers on Cornwall Council how much the Library means to them and what lengths they are prepared to go to find a sustainable way forward.
St Just Library Friday (Feb 28th)
Sue James invited all who were members to join her at St Just Library, last Friday, to remove as many books as they could carry, to show their ‘love’ of the Library Service; the event was known as ‘Love St Just Library Friday’. Over 500 people came and Sue estimates that in the region of 4,000 books were removed from the shelves, possibly as many as 5,000. There will be an electronic record of this so precise data will be available soon and will be given to key decision makers.
Councillor Sue James explained “Whilst we did not manage to quite clear the shelves, the Library buzzed all day. There was a tremendous atmosphere and a local determination that you could feel and almost touch!”
Hands Around St Just Library – (March 1st)
Kate Beckly, part of an embryonic ‘Friends of St Just Library group,’ organised a ‘Hands Around the Library’ event on Saturday 1 March. Again, the community showed its commitment to the Library with sufficient numbers turning out to hold hands and make a complete circle around the outside of the Library building.
Kate Beckly said: “As well as providing books, it’s so much more. It provides internet access and 9 community groups use St Just Library as a place to meet every week. They may not be able to meet, in the future, if the Library opening hours are cut.”
“The Campaign has captured the interest of young and old.” Cllr Sue James explained. I was contacted by the Librarian of our local secondary school and asked to attend the Library as it opened last Friday, to meet with year 7 students. They had made banners, wrote letters and chanted “save our Library” as I arrived”. Sue continued “Amongst the older members of the community I was surprised how many retired Liberians we have plus a whole variety of creative people whom described how vital the resource is to them.”
Sue concluded that “Many told me that the Library was the only place they could access the Internet to search for work and access many other local and Government services that increasingly are requiring people to go ‘on-line’. People told me their lives will be impacted significantly by such a drastic reduction of hours.”
Sue James has a meeting arranged at County Hall on 10 March when she will put local views and ideas across.
The ‘Friends’ have organised a petition, available at https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/hands-off-st-just-library. Over 1,000 have signed it and there is a Facebook page called ‘We Love St Just Library’.