Thousands sign 10-year-old’s Falmouth Library petition

From BBC News:

A 10-year-old boy is to hand in a petition of more than 5,000 signatures to Cornwall Council to try to save local libraries.

Leon Remphry from Falmouth has collected the signatures in favour of his “Write to Read” campaign.

He said he wanted the council to reverse its decision to cut library opening hours and would be presenting the petition at 16:00 BST.

The authority said budget pressures had caused the reduction in hours.

Libraries across Cornwall have had their opening hours cut since June, with Leon’s library in Falmouth opening 25-and-a-half hours per week.

Leon said: “I love reading new books. We’ve had to go to various libraries and wait out there for people to sign [the petition].”

Martin Remphry, Leon’s father, said: “Leon has spent so much time in the library where he’s discovered many of his favourite authors and then gone on to buy the books.”

The council said it was facing an unprecedented level of cuts and intended to reduce spending by nearly £200m by 2019.

Earlier this week the authority announced town and parish councils may be asked to take on about £34m of services.

On Tuesday the Visit Cornwall tourist group heard it could lose its annual grant of £850,000 as part of authority cuts.

Alex Folkes, the cabinet member for finance, said: “The last thing we want to do is cut back on opening hours further or the worst case scenario is closing a branch. That is something we desperately want to avoid.

“We’re going to talk to town and parish councils and other community groups and say ‘can you help us out with this?’.”

Leon is due to present his petition to John Wood, the chairman of the council, at County Hall in Truro later.

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