SOMERSET County Council has unveiled a list of libraries which could be spared the axe as part of is sweeping spending cuts.

This morning the council said that nine of the 20 libraries threatened with closure are set to stay open.

A further five are being given a 12-month reprieve designed to give local people more time to examine the possibility of taking them over.

As reported, the council was planning to shut 20 of its 34 libraries in a bid to save £1.35million.

That prompted fierce resistance from several communities across the county, and at the weekend it was leaked that Wiveliscombe Library was set to be saved.

Here is the list of libraries which are set to be saved from closure:

  • Glastonbury
  • Cheddar
  • Martock
  • Somerton
  • Shepton Mallet
  • Castle Cary
  • Wiveliscombe

The five libraries that are to remain open for another year are:

  • South Petherton
  • North Petherton
  • Nether Stowey
  • Milborne Port

The following libraries will close in September if no one comes forward to run them:

  • Porlock
  • Highbridge
  • Watchet
  • Sunningdale
  • Bishop’s Lydeard
  • Bruton

The catch for all libraries that stay open – including those not previously threatened with closure, like Taunton, Bridgwater and Yeovil – is that opening hours will cut by around 20% Library users will also be asked to make voluntary donations to help fund the library service.

Ken Maddock, leader of the Conservative-run authority, said: “We have listened to what people said and put our residents’ views at the heart of our decision making.

“We carried out a hugely effective public consultation and the overwhelming message was that people understood the savings needed but wanted us to spread the cuts more evenly – that’s what we’re looking to do.”

The council says 1,000 people attended its consultation events on the plans, 10,000 feedback forms were returned and hundreds of letters and emails were sent to councillors.

Cabinet Member for Community Christine Lawrence added: “People understood the need to make savings, but thought the greatest impact would be felt in rural areas. They wanted to see the savings shared out among all libraries, including those in the biggest towns.”

The new proposal now goes to Councillors next month before the major budget setting Full Council on February 16.

Keep reading this website for updates and to have your say on the latest library closure news, just fill in the Your Say box on this page.