A LIBRARY in Taunton has secured funding for the next three years from Taunton Town Council.

Councillors unanimously voted on securing £3,500 a year, for three years, to make sure Priorswood Library can continue to offer its services in the community.

The decision was made at a full town council meeting held on Tuesday, May 21.

Speaking at the meeting, a Somerset Council spokesperson explained the loss of funding would result in a reduction of staff hours to only four hours a week; a reduction in customer access points; reduction in the Summer Reading Challenge, and a reduction to free computer access.

A Somerset Council spokesperson also added the library plays a vital role in tackling loneliness and isolation in the area.

Cllr Simon Clarke said: “To me, it’s a no-brainer. £3,500 is absolutely brilliant.”

Cllr Tom Deakin said: “I think we should support this. Things like this is exactly why we set the budget for this year.

Cllr Federica Smith-Roberts commented on “how brilliant Somerset’s library service is, it has been recognised nationally”.

She added: “With a very small amount, the difference that we can make to people lives across to all demographics is huge.”

Cllr Caroline Ellis said: “Libraries have an incredible social function, health function for such a small amount of money. We definitely must approve this.”

Cllr Ellis also added that the council should understand what the impact of the unitary authority’s financial emergency could be in the future for library services in Somerset.

Cllr Fraschini was also in favour of funding the library and added how Priorswood represents a “safe space” for people with anxiety who “cannot cope with the main one”.

He also said: “I’m ecstatic that Taunton Town Council have agreed to continue the funding previously provided by West Monkton and Cheddon Fitzpaine Parish Councils.

"The library in Priorswood means a great deal to a lot of people in the community, it’s a safe place to flourish, learn, and communicate.

"It’s so much more than books, it’s a hub with activities for a wide range of groups and is a key driver in reducing social isolation.”

Cllr Straus and Cllr Tully highlighted the importance the library has in serving the community and Cllr O’Donnell said he wants to “make sure the service continues in the future,” as he would hate for them to come back “cap in hand asking for money”.