ePetition details

Paddock Wood Library

We the undersigned petition the council to We the undersigned petition the council to provide a select and collect service from Paddock Wood library before the end of April 2021 for the following reasons:

1 We fear that if this interim service is not provided the library will be earmarked for closure in the immediate future.Kent County Council have already announced that they may be facing the biggest spending cut in 10 years and that there may be "difficult decisions" to make regarding the services they provide. The closure of Paddock Wood library would have an dreadful impact on the community. Paddock Wood is relied upon by all the surrounding villages and settlement for essential services and with plans under way for a doubling of the population in addition to the increase from current developments a library is an essential service.

2 Our library is a lifeline for many of our older and/or isolated residents for whom reading is one of the few leisure activities they can still enjoy during the current pandemic.

3 Our library is an invaluable resource for parents and carers who have children who are learning to read, completing their homework or reading for leisure. The expense of buying new books is often prohibitive, accessing second hand books is difficult when our local charity shops are closed and parents/carers might prefer for their children to be reading paper books rather than electronic versions due to the additional screen time that requires.

4 Our next closest library is about 7 miles away, further for residents in the villages to the South, and encourages people to leave the immediate area to travel by car. An off peak return train journey costs £5 which can be beyond the resources of poorer people, young families and people on a pension in these times.

5 Our library provides essential services to our community which residents would suffer without so we need to keep the library functioning for future community resilience. With all government and local authority services moving online whole sections of society who do to have the ability to use these without the assistance that the librarians provide will be excluded from these service. Many of the most vulnerable people do not have access at home to the internet.

6 27 other libraries across Kent have remained open throughout the pandemic so it is clear that the select and collect service is deemed to be Covid-safe.

7 In addition to the pandemic guidelines, environmental factors will also impact the necessity for small towns to become more self sufficient in the future so provision of essential services should be considered differently for local hub settlements.

Please sign this petition to ask Kent County Council to start a select and collect service at Paddock Wood Library before it is deemed unnecessary and closed permanently to save the council money.

This ePetition ran from 31/03/2021 to 23/06/2021 and has now finished.

93 people signed this ePetition.

Council response

Dear Claire,

Paddock Wood Library Petition

I appreciate the enthusiasm that you have for the library service at Paddock Wood and have noted the response to your petition. We have taken a phased and careful approach to library reopening being mindful of staff and customer safety. Now that we have started to move out of lockdown we have started once more to look at library recovery. We now have 42 libraries reopened with library browsing and public computer use. Our target is to open all the remaining 56 libraries including Paddock Wood over the summer period 2021 and our intention is to have this completed for early August. Social distancing measures in place at present do impact on our ability to open libraries due to the additional staffing resource required to facilitate and ensure we keep our customers and staff safe.

We do need to wait for announcements from government as to the ability to lift all remaining restrictions on Monday 19th July but are looking forward to being able to confirm our library reopening programme very soon which will include the reopening of Paddock Wood Library.

Best wishes

Mike Hill
Cabinet Member for Community and Regulatory Services