CONCERNED residents of a town renowned for its love of books have joined together to try to save its library.

Hay-on-Wye library is one of 11 in Powys which could close permanently by the end of March if no funding is found.

The library in Chancery Lane is open four days a week and costs £37,500 a year to run, of which £7,000 is contributed by Hay Festival.

Last year more than 20,000 items were loaned out.

As part of it’s spending cuts Powys County Council plan to withdraw half its funding, asking the town council or a community group to pay the other half.

Hay Town Council said it can’t legally pay for the service.

The community have been given until Monday to submit a firm proposal to keep it.

Seventy concerned residents met at the library last week and set up a steering group to discuss its future with the county council.

Anita Wright, who arranged the public meeting and is part of the steering group, said: “We will look at what to do next in order to protect our library.

“The long term plan by the council is to transfer the library to the new primary school but we fear it could be closed before the school is built.

“There is huge concern in the community over what is going to happen as the library is well well used.

“It is ridiculous that the county council are looking at closing a library in the town of books. They would love all town councils to take over the responsibility of the libraries but they don’t have that kind of money.”

Mrs Wright said the funding from Hay Festival has allowed the library to keep its opening times after a first cut in funding from the council.

Cllr Graham Brown, Deputy Council Leader and Cabinet Member for Library Services, said: “Negotiations have been held with Hay-on-Wye Town Council and we are still looking at ways forward.

“We are also looking to move the library to the town’s new primary school when it is built in 2017/18 which will reduce building costs, but running costs will still have to be met.

“We remain willing to discuss this with the town council or any other organisation with a view to finding a workable solution as soon as possible.

“However, the library service need to meet its first savings target of £100,000 in 2017/18 so it is vital that decisions on the branch libraries are agreed as soon as possible.

“Where we cannot reach an agreement by the end of October, we will have no alternative but to consult on possible closures.”

Anybody who has ideas for the steering group or would like to keep updated on the campaign to keep a library service in Hay-on-Wye can email