North-East Ipswich is unique in the town for not having a library in any of its three wards; Rushmere, St.Johns and Bixley. So when the County Council cut its mobile library service in Ipswich in 2013, North-East Ipswich residents lost their fortnightly access to Suffolk Libraries.
Cllr Sandra Gage Rushmere County and Borough Councillor said, “I became aware in early summer this year that ‘pop-up libraries’ were being trialled in three villages in Suffolk, and immediately approached Alison Wheeler and her team at Suffolk Libraries to see how North-East Ipswich could have one. With our new Ipswich Borough Council Ransomes Pavilion literally sitting in the heart of North-East Ipswich in Sidegate Avenue, we now have the perfect venue to offer a one-day-a-week library with activities and sessions for children and adults of all ages.”
The North-East Area Committee (NEAC), at its 2 November meeting, agreed to support a proposal to run a weekly Suffolk Libraries Local Service for two years, offering activities for 0-5 year olds, 4-12 year olds, 12 years and over, and social events for the over 50’s. Activities are intended to support young families, school children with homework clubs and for adults to join book clubs.
Cllr Shelly Darwin, Chair of NE Area Committee said, “I am delighted to see this progress and look forward to it becoming a hub for people to explore, interact, learn and imagine.
“Residents in the North East of our town should not be the only ones without access to a local library. A library is a valuable resource and a key feature of a healthy community and I am pleased that the NEAC could support the success of this exciting project.”
Cllr Sandra Gage has committed £3,276 from her 2017/18 Locality Budget to get the project started and a further £2,500 next year to support the second year of the project. NE Area Committee agreed to use £10,460 of its budget to meet the rest of the project costs.
At the meeting the proposed new Library was voted for by all Labour Borough Councillors, and against by all Tory Borough Councillors, including Stephen Ion, Rushmere Councillor. The proposal was carried five votes to four.