Writing

Cobbett Road Library: And We Are Still Here

Along with its 75th Anniversary, comes threats of closure for Cobbett Road Library.

Cobbett Road Library was subject to a suggestion of closure in 2007 when Southampton Council looked for ways to cut costs further, proposing that it was no longer needed.

The supporters of the library wanted to fight back, and the Friends of Cobbett Road Library was established, working closely with staff.

Although plans were scrapped, the library, which hosts many community groups such as a parent-toddler group, art classes and Tai Chi classes, is now in danger once again.

Chairman of the Friends of Cobbett Road Library, Kevin Lancashire, describes it as a unique place, commenting, “It’s an oasis of peace and quiet.”

Another member of the group, Rachel Hickman, added: “It’s a safe place. We have a lot of elderly people, we have people with mental disabilities and learning difficulties… The staff know everyone by name.”

While the building is used as much as possible, due to previous funding cuts, it is currently closed on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

The group fear that further cuts, like those made over the last seven years, could prove fatal.

Treasurer of the Friends, Sandra Naish, said: “I find it stressful… the same thing coming up year after year.”

Despite new proposals, support for the library is growing, with over 500 people, including local Councillors and Parliamentary Candidate for Southampton Itchen, Rowenna Davis, attending the Autumn Fayre hosted by the Friends.

On November 10th, Rowenna Davis tweeted: “We love Cobbett Rd library and we need our mobile library. I promise to work with the community and the council to try and keep them open.”

It is thought that a 12 week consultation will take place before a decision is reached, concluding around the budget date in mid-February.

Until then, the plaque’s inside the community room, which read “And We Are Still Here”, remain true.

To get involved, members of the public can join the Friends of Cobbett Library group by visiting, http://www.cobbettroad.info, or alternatively, by attending the Christmas Fayre, which will be held at the library on Saturday 29th November.

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