Fight begins to make library SOUL survivor

Ouwood library protest wakefield town hall tuesday 26th july 2011
Ouwood library protest wakefield town hall tuesday 26th july 2011
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A campaign to save under-threat local libraries took to Wakefield Town Hall this week.

As reported in the YEP last week, Wakefield Council chiefs have announced that they could look to close almost half of the district’s libraries as part of a cost-cutting programme.

Among those facing the axe is the library at Outwood – and campaigners from the Supporters of Outwood Library (SOUL) group gathered at the Town Hall this week to discuss the plans with council bosses.

Group spokesman Karl Grubb told the YEP: “Our library is a focus for our community – the full spectrum use the library not only for books but for access to the internet, we have mums and toddlers’ groups and a well-attended readers’ group.

“We recognise the building is not in its prime but it fulfils a vast range of purposes for the local community. Hopefully we can keep it open until the financial situation improves and the local authority can upgrade facilities.”

Thirteen of Wakefield and district’s 26 libraries are under threat. Libraries facing the axe are Ackworth, Altofts, Crofton, Havercroft, Kettlethorpe, Kinsley, Middlestown, Outwood, South Kirkby, South Pontefract, Upton and Walton.

No final decision has yet been made, but if the council backs the proposals, the authority will run the remaining 13 “hub” libraries and a fund would be created to help other organisations, like voluntary groups, deliver services.

The plans were discussed at a meeting of the authority’s cabinet committee on Tuesday, where it was decided to undertake public consultation on the future of library services.

Coun David Dagger, Cabinet Member with responsibility for libraries, said: “We have an opportunity to improve and modernise our library service, giving people the service they want, rather than the service they’ve got at the moment.”