In Suffolk, the county council is intending to spend around 30% less in support of libraries, but in the case of some individual libraries the council intends to spend “much less than that”. Beyond these vague statements, it is unclear exactly what financial commitments the council is prepared to make to individual libraries.
Each library in Suffolk has been placed into one of two categories based on a number of criteria relating to location, number of visits, opening hours and running costs:
- “County libraries”, of which there will be15, are based in most of the larger towns in Suffolk and receive a relatively large number of visitors. The future of these 15 is essentially guaranteed, although the manner in which they will be funded will change.
- The remaining 29 smaller libraries have been designated “community libraries”. Leiston library is one of the these. It is these libraries whose future is in doubt. Unless other groups can be found to take on the running of these community libraries, they will be closed by Suffolk County Council.
This map shows the location of all of Suffolk’s public libraries, with Leiston highlighted in blue. The 15 in green are those earmarked as “county libraries” in Suffolk County Council’s 2011 Libraries Consultation. The remainder could be faced with closure: