Happy story as mobile library escapes axe in Bognor Regis

C110976-1 Bog Mobile  phot kate''Betty Nixon, left, and Nan Macaulay, regular users of the mobile library, delighted it has been spared in the cuts.C110976-1
C110976-1 Bog Mobile phot kate''Betty Nixon, left, and Nan Macaulay, regular users of the mobile library, delighted it has been spared in the cuts.C110976-1
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Mobile library users in Felpham have welcomed the reprieve of the service’s visit to their area.

All the vehicle’s stops across Bognor Regis have escaped the axe in a county-wide review of the service.

Some other towns and villages elsewhere in West Sussex will no longer receive regular visits by the vehicle with its hundreds of books in normal and large print and its audio books.

But Monday afternoon saw the mobile library parked outside Flansham Park Health Centre as usual.

Regular Nan Macauley, 77, from the Flansham Park estate, said: “The mobile library is very important to me.

“I have an invalid husband, John, and I come here every week and take seven books and six taped books because he is a prolific reader.

“I get a lot of help from the staff who tell me about books they think John might like.

“It’s not very practical for me to go the town-centre library because I can’t leave my husband for long and I can’t really carry all the books with my shopping.”

Fellow mobile library user Betty Nixon, 85, also from the Flansham Park estate, said: “It’s so handy for me because it’s just around the corner from my home.

“I come every week for three books because I read a lot, especially at night-times.

“I would have to get a lift from my daughter to go to the town-centre library when she’s available or get the bus and walk up from the bus stop.”

The Flansham Park stop attracts about 30 users weekly. It is served by just one of two mobile libraries for West Sussex, based in Bognor, after one of the vehicles was axed.

The decision followed a year-long review into the service to save £65,000 costs as part of an overall £1m for the library service. A further £1m saving must be made by March 2014.

The findings came after a consultation with more 1,000 customers and extensive talks with other bodies.

Senior county councillor Deborah Urquhart, who oversees libraries, said: “This has not been an easy process.

“But I am sure we now have a fair schedule of stops which maintains the service to those in need and achieves the required financial savings.

“I am pleased we haven’t had to withdraw a stop from a community other than where it simply was no longer viable.”

Some nearby stops have been merged and other visits made less frequent to ensure as many users as possible continue to benefit from the service.