Library hours could be cut to savemoney

LIBRARY books look set to re- main locked up for longer. An overall reduction in public

opening times across the library estate is being proposed in a cash- saving reviewof services by Kent County Council (KCC). Specialist services such as the

mobile library, home library de- livery, audio books by post, and residential home services could also be brought under one brand of Library Direct if the three-year strategy is agreed by councillors. MikeHill, KCC’s cabinetmem-

ber for community services, as- sured users all libraries will continue to be maintained. How- ever, many would have their opening hours cut, if the recom- mendations are agreed. He added: “We know our li-

brary service is highly-valued by the public, but it is not immune fromthe financial pressures on all county council services. “We have been working on a

The UK’s proof fence!

strategy to protect the future of all our libraries and our archive and registration offers and, in fact, en- hance some of these services. But, being openwhen libraries are not well used is not a good use of tax- payers’money.” But Labour borough councillor

Paul Harper says shorter hours are one step away from closures. A former libraries committee chairman for Merton Council in south London, he maintains a lack of commitment and invest- ment by the county council has run the systemdown.He said: “In Merton, with a population of

Kent History and Library Centre in James Whatman Way, Maidstone

200,000 we had seven libraries, whereas our county townhas three anditsmainlibrary is out of town.” He believes instead of looking at

closing libraries longer, KCC should be looking at how to pro- vide wider access to services and investing inmore stock. He added: “Those who need to

claim for such things as universal credithave toapplyonline.For this reason, also, librariesprovide anes- sential public service.” Copies of the draft strategy and

the consultation questionnaire are available at lrastrategy or fromyour library.

News Snowman live

THE Snowman film will be screenedwith live accompaniment atMaidstone Leisure Centre. The MWS brass orchestra will

lead themagical adventure,with a programme also featuring music from The Polar Express, The Nut- cracker Suite, Lauridsen’s OMag- num Mysterium, and Leroy Anderson’sAChristmas Festival. The event starts at 3.30pm on

Sunday, December 16. Tickets are £10 for adults and £5 for those up to 11 and free to those up to four.

Theft charge

OFFICERS investigating a kebab shopburglaryhave chargedaman. On Sunday, November 18, cash

and knives were taken from a kebab shop in Gabriel’s Hill. Bret Morris (44), of Fairmeadow,Maid- stone, has been charged with bur- glary and handling stolen goods. Hewas remanded in custody.

Quiz night

MAIDSTONE Lions’ Club’s quiz will be held atArchbishopCourte- nay Primary School, Tovil, at 7.30pmon Saturday, February 9 . To book, call 01622 739469.

The Ultimate in Garden Fencing

Maintenance Free Guaranteed for 25 years

FOR A FREE NO-OBLIGATION QUOTATION PLEASE CONTACT US NOW 01622 233322 | *Terms & conditions apply please ask for details. Maidstone January 2019 17

Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40