PROPOSED council cuts which could see nearly 50 mobile library stops lost in the Chard and Ilminster area have been branded a “tragedy” for older people.

Somerset County Council is consulting on wide-ranging changes to library services across the county as it looks to make around £500,000 of savings.

Plans including axing over half of the 574 stops made by the mobile library service next August and phasing out CD loans while more positive changes could see free WiFi installed in all libraries and an extension of the Home Library Service.

Ros Roderigo is South Somerset District Councillor for the Blackdown ward west of Chard, which could lose six mobile library stops.

She said: “I think this is a terrible shame and would make it so difficult for the older people in the community to be able to read.

“It is true that many youngsters don’t use libraries as much as I did when I was younger but it is a complete tragedy for older people who do rely on these services.

“I don’t think the free WiFi will make that much of a difference; so many people have their own access to the internet and again wouldn’t rely on this service as much.”

The county council says reducing the number of mobile library stops, and making changes to the Performing Arts Library in Yeovil would save £120,000.

It is proposing to reduce the opening hours at the PAL – which loans out music and drama sets to community performing arts groups – and also introduce annual subscription charges for groups.

Cllr Roderigo, who has been heavily involved with the local amateur dramatics scene, producing and directing shows, said she was concerned for the long-term future of the library.

She added: “So many groups use it for all of their music and if anything was to happen, it would be a complete disaster.”

Mobile library stops made at schools look set to stay in place and stops within 0.5 miles of each other would be combined. But a further 18 stops in South Somerset which are being ‘kept under review’, could also potentially go.

The council will be removing charges for using library computers.

District councillor Linda Vijeh, who represents Neroche, would see seven mobile library stops in her ward go.

She said: “In this latest round of SCC funding cuts it does not come as any great surprise that libraries are once again in the firing line.

“I believe that mobile libraries provide a valuable service to our outlying villages, but the sad fact remains however, that fewer and fewer people are either using libraries or accessing the mobile service.

“At a time when everyone is conscious of providing cost effective services and value for money for taxpayersI can appreciate the need for re-considering the way in which our library service is delivered.

“For many this will mean further isolation, which is why it is important for everyone to respond to the survey to make their views known, before it is too late.”

Cllr David Hall, the cabinet member responsible for libraries said: “Library buildings will remain open for all to enjoy, but as can be seen, there are still tough decisions to make.”

The county council says the changes could save it £472,000, with the vast majority (£422,000) classed as non-customer facing – things like procurement savings on contracts and other efficiencies.

Members of the public can take part in the consultation and questionnaire – which closes on January 11, 2015 – by visiting their local library or mobile library, by visiting consultation or by emailing

Information sessions to learn more about the proposed changes will be taking place in Chard Library on December 15 from 11.30am- 12.30pm, Ilminster Library on December 15 from 9.45- 10.45am, Crewkerne Library on December 17 from 3-4pm and South Petherton Library on December 11 from 3-4pm.

There will also be consultation drop in event with senior managers and county council representatives on November 24 at Yeovil Library from 3- 7pm.

Feedback from the consultation will be used to create a final set of proposals to take to a cabinet meeting in February where a final decision is expected to be made.

SOMERSET County Council is proposing to remove the mobile library stops below in August 2015 because they are less than three miles away, in a straight line, from a library building:

Barrington, Church stop, nearest library - Ilminster; Broadway, Brookside stop, nearest library - Ilminster; Broadway, Memorial stop, nearest library - Ilminster; Broadway, Stoford Place stop, nearest library – Ilminster; Chaffcombe, Village Hall stop, nearest library – Chard; Chiselborough, Village Hall stop, nearest library - South Petherton; Combe St. Nicholas, Combewood Lane stop, nearest library - Chard ; Combe St. Nicholas, Taylors Mead stop, nearest library - Chard; Combe St. Nicholas, Village Green stop, nearest library – Chard; Cudworth, Higher Weare stop, nearest library – Ilminster; Dowlish Wake, Four Winds, nearest library - Ilminster ; Dowlish Wake, Perrys stop, nearest library – Ilminster; East Lambrook, Barn Cottage stop, nearest library - South Petherton; Haselbury Plucknett, Castleton stop, nearest library – Crewkerne ; Haselbury Plucknett, New Close Estate stop, nearest library – Crewkerne; Haselbury Plucknett, Woodstock stop, nearest library – Crewkerne; Hewish, The Green stop, nearest library – Crewkerne; Hinton St. George, Post Office stop, nearest library – Crewkerne; Horton, Ashfields stop, nearest library - Ilminster ; Horton, Channels Lane stop, nearest library - Ilminster; Horton, Slades Orchard stop, nearest library - Ilminster ; Horton, Sunnyside stop, nearest library – Ilminster; Ilton, Merryfield Lane stop, nearest library- Ilminster ; Ilton, Spurwells stop, nearest library- Ilminster; Ilton, Wyndham Arms stop, nearest library- Ilminster; Kingstone, Church stop, nearest library- Ilminster; Lopen, Layby stop, nearest library - South Petherton; Merriott, Beadon Lane stop, nearest library – Crewkerne ; Merriott, Hitchen stop, nearest library – Crewkerne; Merriott, Sherlands stop, nearest library – Crewkerne; Merriott, Moorlands stop, nearest library Crewkerne; Merriott, Squash Club stop, nearest library – Crewkerne; Misterton, Portman House stop, nearest library - Crewkerne ; Misterton, Turnpike Green stop, nearest library – Crewkerne; North Perrott, Manor Arms stop, nearest library – Crewkerne; Norton sub Hamdon, High Street ‘Pippins’ stop, nearest library - South Petherton; Over Stratton, Bridge House Park stop, nearest library - South Petherton; Puckington, The Cottage stop, nearest library – Ilminster; Shepton Beauchamp, Buttle Close stop, nearest library - South Petherton; South Chard, Axeford stop, nearest library - Chard ; South Chard, Chilson Common stop, nearest library – Chard; Tatworth, Memorial Hall stop, nearest library - Chard; Wadeford, Rackstile stop, nearest library – Chard; Wambrook, Dennett Farm stop, nearest library - Chard ; Wambrook, Old Smithy stop, nearest library – Chard; West Chinnock, Mechams stop, nearest library – Crewkerne; Whitelackington, Memorial Hall stop, nearest library - Ilminster.