YEP Says, August 1: Libraries give access to knowledge, so let’s not limit their use

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...and why it’s time rail firms got on board over Tour legacy

COUNCILS up and down the country are having to manage on reduced budgets – and many are choosing the same means to do so.

Libraries, for instance, are a popular target from Cornwall to Glasgow, with opening hours being reduced in an effort to cut overheads.

Leeds City Council, having already shut 13 of the city’s libraries, is now following suit.

While in some cases users won’t notice an odd hour here or there, some of the city’s libraries could have their opening hours slashed by more than 40 per cent.

In justifying the move, council chiefs point to figures which show that nearly 98 per cent of those borrowing books or using library computers wouldn’t be affected by these new times. But, as they themselves acknowledge, libraries serve other purposes and are used for different reasons.

In many communities they act as an important local hub, a place for people and groups to meet and for organised activities to take place.

Libraries aren’t a luxury item – they were designed to give access to knowledge. It therefore feels wrong to impose new limits on their use.

Before the council presses ahead with these cuts, it should actively seek to recruit volunteers who could help ensure opening hours remain unchanged.

It is to be hoped that people feel sufficiently protective of their libraries to come forward.

Train firms must get on board over Tour legacy

IF Leeds is going to make the most of hosting the Tour de France then everyone needs to play a part.

So it’s entirely right that the council is challenging train firms over the provision of space for bikes.

While it was perhaps understandable that room for cycles was limited during the Grand Depart because companies wanted to maximise space for passengers, this is now a golden opportunity for Leeds.

If people are going to come here to sample the hospitality and scenery they saw on the television pictures that were beamed around the world, then we need to be more bike-friendly.

It’s time for the train companies to get on board.

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