A PETITION calling on Park Library to be saved when the council reveals the future of the service has received 1,100 signatures.

Despite serving one of the most economically disadvantaged communities in Swindon, and being among the most visited of the 15 libraries in the town, Park is set for closure amid drastic cuts to the libraries provision in Swindon.

Earlier this year the council revealed that in the face of mounting financial pressures, they were no longer able to go on supporting all the libraries currently operating.

Instead they have proposed to withdraw support for all but four sites - Highworth, North Swindon, West Swindon and the Central Library.

Campaigners have criticised the apparent omission of the east and south of the town from the new model and a campaign was launched to put pressure on the council to rethink their plans and include Park Library in the future ‘core’ provision.

Despite attempts to keep the petition off of last week’s full council agenda, councillors eventually heard from its author, Martin Wicks, who urged them to think again when it came to the library at the heart of his community.

Mr Wicks said: “In terms of facilities in this area, it is critical. We have the charity shop that enables people with little money to get by but apart from that the only other thing is the library.

“Closing it would have a big impact on a whole range of people in our community - whether that is old people, children, or those who have to deal with the Department of Work and Pensions.

“Many people use the library for their job searches, if you live in the centre of town you can just go into the central library but some people here can’t even afford the bus fare.

“For others like the elderly, the library is one of their few points of social contact.”

If any of the 11 libraries currently in danger is to be saved under the final proposals, Park Library is the most likely candidate. However it would likely only be on the same terms as Highworth, North and West Swindon which will see significantly reductions in staffed hours.

For campaigners, the continued presence of professional staff is a vital part of any solution.

Mr Wicks added: “Not many people appreciate the role of the staff, they offer assistance with a whole range of issues, not just books.”