Following suggestions that Somerset County Council could start to charge or ask for donations for library usage, Tessa Munt put the questions of charging and donations to Ed Vaizey MP, Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries.
There have been strong suspicions that charging or requesting donations would be illegal under the statutory duty which requires Local Authorities to provide Library facilities.
Mr Vaizey’s response to Tessa’s enquiry reads
“Thank you for your email of 21 April enclosing correspondence from your constituent about the proposal for Somerset County Council (SCC) to raise money for public libraries through donation.
Thank you for informing us about this matter. I agree that on the face of it, this does not seem correct. My officials are currently exploring this matter with SCC directly.”
Tessa will continue to seek clarification of what provision the Conservative administration at Somerset County Council must offer under the current legal framework.