NORTH Petherton Town Council remains confident of keeping its library open in the face of impending cuts in funding from Somerset County Council.

Speaking at North Petherton Town Council, town clerk Rod Latham and Cllr Bill Revans updated members on a meeting had taken place with Somerset County Council representatives, which Mr Latham described as an exercise aimed at 'softening up the library in preparation for cuts'.

Cllr Bill Revans said: "County Council knows it has to cut money from the current libraries budget and is looking to secure the long term future of the county's libraries."

Mr Latham said the county council representatives acknowledged how proactive North Petherton had been in the face of previous cuts.

However Cllr Revans added: "The subtext I got was if they cut five libraries North Petherton will be one of them."

The council discussed whether it may be worth looking to establish a Friends of Bridgwater Library group to help run the library as a community resource, as had happened in Porlock in West Somerset which is largely run by volunteers.

"However they do have a lot of retired professionals to do that sort of thing, it might not necessarily work here," Cllr Revans said.

Sedgemoor District Councillor Anne Fraser who was in attendance explained how the town council had a significant sum in reserve which had be taken a few years ago when the library was initially at risk, but this money had not been used as money had be found elsewhere.

Cllr Revans said the council should look to use this money to commission Somerset County Council to continue running the service with a professional librarian.

Somerset County Council said it has undertaken initial meetings with the county's libraries and relevant community organisations.

Cllr David Hall, cabinet member for economy and resources, with responsibility for libraries said: "We firmly believe a thriving, dynamic modern library service is very much part of Somerset’s exciting future.

"At this stage, no proposals or plans for individual libraries are identified, but acknowledging the financial pressures all local authorities are facing, we do recognise that the library service as a whole needs to be financially stable, cost effective and sustainable in the longer term.

"We have been talking to a number of community groups across the County library service, encouraging them to influence and shape plans and gathering their thoughts for the future. The County will consult with the public early next year on any firm proposals."