Call to use libraries and not become ‘Argos families’

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ENCOURAGING and helping communities to play an active role in their local library will prevent the spread of ‘Argos families’ – families where the only book in the home is the Argos catalogue.

That was the view expressed by Deborah Urquhart, West Sussex County Council Cabinet Member responsible for libraries, when she spoke to its Community Services Select Committee at County Hall today (Wednesday June 15).

Deborah was outlining the need for the Library Service to review community libraries in West Sussex.

She said: “There is now a need to review community libraries and how we can as a county council ensure they continue to offer the opportunity for learning and reading whilst achieving necessary savings.

“The little ones and older people continue to borrow books. But we must ensure there are learning opportunities to all groups.

“Nationally there is a long term trend in declining book borrowing. As a County Council we need to engage with communities to turn that decline around.

“We cannot – like some places – afford to have Argos families in West Sussex.”

Deborah said it is time to think about making better use of the Library Service’s assets.

“A lot of our libraries are only 24 hours a week. However, we have started talking to parishes and we are asking them, ‘What is it you want in your community and how can we utilise the library building to support delivery?’” she said.