A PETITION has been launched to keep Penarth Library open amid fears that services could be cut at the facility.

The Vale of Glamorgan Council has announced that a consultation is to be held on the future of library services across the Vale.

Penarth resident Marjorie Lasebikan has launched a petition to keep Penarth Library open and has urged people to sign it to show their support for the facility that is nearly 110 years old.

“This library is an essential lifeline to all,” she said.

“I consider it to be the heart of Penarth: the hub of the community. I cannot visualise Penarth without the library. There is nowhere else in Penarth that people can visit with such a community atmosphere.”

The Vale of Glamorgan Council began a review of the library service in September and decided that both library staff and Vale residents should be asked for their views on how the service might be provided in the future.

The provision of a library service is one of the council’s ‘statutory’ duties, meaning it is required by law to provide the service, but a council spokesperson said that “like councils throughout the UK, the Vale has suffered budget cuts, leaving it with no alternative but to look at new ways to provide services”.

Cllr Stuart Egan, deputy leader of the council and cabinet member for adult services, who is leading the library review working group, said: “We know our library staff provide a successful and popular service and we want to look at how we can best protect our libraries now and in the future. Many councils are trying new ways of working with communities to create sustainable library services and we want to do this too.

“It is not only the financial challenges we are facing, the internet is changing the way many people use libraries. As part of the review we will be looking at some of the innovations introduced elsewhere to see if they would work here in the Vale to provide modern affordable services. We’ll be talking to our library customers, staff and Vale residents in general, to find out how we can best provide the service that people want, while still meeting our challenging savings targets.”

Penarth residents have described the threat of closure of Penarth Library as “disgusting” and an “appalling thought”.

Richard Snell, who has one of the petitions at A B Snell and Son on Stanwell Road, was concerned about the future of Penarth Library.

“If it’s true it would be absolutely disgusting,” he said.

“It would be a major loss to the town.”

He added that the petition at A B Snell and Son had been signed by nearly 30 people in one afternoon and many Penarth residents had expressed their concern.

“One little lad that was with his mum, who was about 12 or 13, said ‘I use it all the time’.”

Other comments on the petition included “appalling thought”, “totally unacceptable”, “disgusting”, “this is a vital community resource” and “please keep it open – we need it”.

Marjorie Lasebikan added: “The economy is in a bad state, although recovering, but we must keep the library open. It will then be available to everyone. At least if we preserve what we have we will not lose it forever. I dread to think what other use this magnificent building would serve. We have had it for 110 years and it is an integral part of Penarth Town. Please let us keep it!”

The consultation survey will be available on the council’s website, www.valeofglamorgan.gov.uk , from Wednesday, November 20, until Sunday, December 15. The survey will also be available in libraries from Monday, November 18.

The first report on the library service review went to the council’s Lifelong Learning Scrutiny Committee on Monday, November 11 and the report can be seen on the council’s website. The review is expected to be completed in March 2014.