FRIENDS of Ludlow Museum are angry about the way that the library building in the town is being treated and are calling for a new approach that would see an expansion and not a cut in services.

The group also wants Shropshire Council to consider pulling the plug on a plan to sell the Stone House site in the town centre for housing development.

If this happened they say that services not related to the library and museum could be relocated leaving space for a range of other activities in the library and museum resource centre building.

They say that the library and its services are feeling the impact of cost cutting and that it has to stop.

In particular the group is upset at the way in which vital services are being provided.

“Shropshire Council’s move of the public contact point into the atrium has been a fudge,” said Lottie James, chair of the Friends of Ludlow Museum in a letter to Ludlow Town Council.

“It is unattractive, lacks privacy and above all intrudes on a purpose built building to provide a library for Ludlow and a Museum Resource Centre for the County.

“We know that it has been part of a cost-cutting exercise at county level but this has been a step too far. The staff have been magnificent working in difficult conditions.”

She said that it should not be forgotten that the building was constructed for a specific purpose to provide a home for the county’s museum collection, a library for Ludlow and a base for the travelling library service.

The Friends of Ludlow Museum have secured £250,000 in funding over three years so that the rare fossil collection can be digitalised. This comes from fines on bankers for the LIBOR interest rate rigging scandal.

But the Friends of Ludlow Museum want more than just a commitment to no further cuts.

“Rather than see further cuts, we would like to see an expansion in what is provided,” said Lottie James.

“More educational courses for schools and adults alike, expansion of the information that is given on the town and more temporary exhibitions.

“If these cannot be funded by the council we need to look outside.”

Furthermore, the group wants to see some of the non-library related services taken out and located elsewhere in Ludlow.

“Is there not another building in Ludlow that could be used as a public contact point,” Lottie James added.

“Does Ludlow Town Council have something suitable that they could share, perhaps part of the Guildhall?

“We understand that the sale of the Stone House premises has not been completed. Is it too late to reconsider this?”

Stone House, which was the home of the former South Shropshire District Council, has been earmarked as a site for a new housing development.

Terrence Fewtrell, aged 73 and a former librarian, says that he will defy ill health to fight for the future of the library.

“There is talk about the importance of education and libraries are key to this,” said Mr Fewtrell who is a Friend of Ludlow Library.

He said that the ability to read and access to books is at the heart of a good education.