ILMINSTER must ‘think outside the box’ if it is to save its library from closure, the town’s mayor has declared.

The town’s library is at risk after Somerset County Council announced a consultation which could see a dramatic change for 22 of it’s 34 libraries.

According to the consultation, the libraries in Ilminster, Crewkerne and Martock “may remain unchanged or may require community support” if they are to stay open.

But Cllr Val Keitch, the Mayor of Ilminster, believes the Ditton Street facility will not be allowed to remain running as it is.

She said: “A lot of people who have an Ilminster-issued library card are actually using it in Taunton. But for people who can’t get out of Ilminster, to be able to go to the library is vital.”

One of the proposals from the county council is that volunteers run libraries themselves, with the authority providing books and a support person four hours-a-week to assist staff running it.

Cllr Keitch added: “I will be very surprised if we don’t as a community end up running it. I think it is unlikely we will have library vans which go around with books. I think it can stay open and it is up to us as a council to keep it open.

“There are examples in Somerset where people run the library and the council provides that four-hours-a-week service. It is very important for us to keep it, especially with the increase in population.”

However, in order for Ilminster to keep a library service in the market town, volunteers will need to come forward and people will need to come up with ideas to help it become sustainable.

Among the ideas suggested at the council meeting were co-habitation with other services, and a possible cafe to run alongside the library.

The mayor said: “Library usage has changed. It is not about going and borrowing a couple of books anymore.

“We must change. The library service has evolved and we need to change with it because we do not want to lose it.”

Councillor David Hall, cabinet member for resources and economic development at Somerset County Council, said: “Libraries are a hugely important part of life here in Somerset and I urge everyone to have their say on shaping the future library service. Like many authorities we continue to face challenging financial times, but I stress this consultation is not all about saving money.”

To propose ideas for future library services, email

The consultation will end April 22.