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Support gathers to stop cuts at Leeds libraries

Rachel Reeves, Leeds West MP

Rachel Reeves, Leeds West MP

A Leeds MP has come up with a page-turning idea in a bid to stop council bosses from slashing the opening hours at two libraries.

Rachel Reeves, who represents Leeds West, has organised a series of “Read Ins” at Bramley and Armley libraries.

Under current proposals Bramley’s hours could be cut by 18 per cent while Armley’s could come down by 15 per cent. The Bramley site might also close on Thursdays.

Ms Reeves, who is spearheading the campaign to support the libraries, has also received backing from Armley born author and screenwriter Alan Bennett.

In a letter he said: “I learned to read at the Armley Public library at the bottom of Hall Lane.

“As a schoolboy I used to take books out of Headingley library, opposite the Lounge cinema on North Lane. I often did my homework in the Reference library on the Headrow.

“Reading and the city went hand in hand.

“Every child in Leeds today deserves these facilities and the support that I had.”

Ms Reeves added: “Libraries in Leeds provide a vital public service, helping people to learn and acting as a place for the community to come together.

“But deep government cuts have hit northern towns and cities like Leeds hard, threatening the future of our libraries.

“That’s why I’ve launched a campaign to protect Armley and Bramley libraries from a proposal to reduce their opening hours.

“We’ve had a fantastic response over the last few weeks with hundreds of people signing the petition.

“I urge everyone who wants to keep libraries open to back my campaign by signing the petition and coming along to the read in events I’ve organised at Bramley and Armley Libraries.”

A consultation has been launched across the city over the proposals which could mean a reduction of about 15 per cent in the overall time that more than 30 libraries in Leeds are open each week.

But the impact of the proposed cutbacks is also likely to vary wildly from site to site.

Gildersome, Whinmoor and Scholes libraries could have their opening hours cut by more than 40 per cent.

Rothwell’s hours could drop by 28 per cent while Seacroft’s could fall by 22 per cent.

Other sites, such as Holt Park, Yeadon, Guiseley, Chapel Allerton and Leeds Central, could escape with reductions of less than 10 per cent.

A “Read In” will be held at Bramley Library on September 13 at 10am followed by another at Armley Library on September 20 at 10am.

A public meeting will be held in Bramley on September 11 at 4.30pm and Armley on September 18 at 5.30pm.

To sign a petition visit www.rachelreevesmp.co.uk.

 

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