A PUBLIC meeting to discuss the future of Usk Library will be held in the town next week.

The Save Usk Library Action group has welcomed the chance to talk with Monmouthshire council but is standing firm in its fight to retain the library.

The council’s chief executive, Paul Matthews has agreed to hold the public meeting following strong feeling at a budget consultation meeting last month.

Closing Usk and Gilwern Libraries is one of 37 high-level ideas the council believes could go towards bridging next year’s financial gap.

A report to council advised that the budget for the council libraries next year should be cut by £180,000 in a bid to save £9million next year.

Monmouthshire’s library service is a key-money saving area and the report said that if it was decided to close it, it could happen eight weeks later.

The Save Usk Library Action Group was formed by library users and residents amid fears the service could be under threat.

The group’s facebook page has attracted more than 500 ‘likes’ as well as on online and paper petition which have nearly 1,000 signatures calling on Mr Matthews to keep the library open.

Action group leader, Julie McGowan, said: “Whilst the county council continues to reiterate that it hasn’t categorically said it will close our library, it is clear that virtually all the projected savings come from removing the staff wages bill. Without staff we will no longer have the library in its current form.”

“As this is the only publicly-funded building we have in Usk, well-used by all sectors of the community, we are determined not to lose this vital hub for our community.

“The people of Usk showed at the engagement evening that they are willing to consider many other ways to help reduce the county council’s budget, and to co-operate wherever they can, but are standing firm in their fight to retain their library.

Mr Matthews has previously said the council is keen to work with the users of these services to help find a solution that will allow them to keep their library but also allow the county council to find over £9million of budget savings next year and is committed to holding a specific meeting with the community on the issue.

The public meeting will take place at 7pm in Usk Memorial hall, Usk on November 14.