West Yorkshire: Help sought to save theatrical library

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Organisations are being urged to come up with ideas to save a music and drama library used by amateur theatre groups across Yorkshire.

The Yorkshire and Libraries Information Council (YLI) decided in September that the Wakefield-based library - a collection of play scripts, vocal scores and orchestral sets supported by 12 local authorities including Leeds - was no longer financially viable and should close “as it currently exists.”

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A review team has been examining options for the collection’s future and now the YLI is inviting groups to come up with suggestions by November 30 to ensure it remains available to the public.

Following its latest meeting, the YLI said: “We held a very positive council meeting to discuss the future of the collection. At the meeting it was agreed we continue to recognise the significance locally and nationally of this collection.

“We are committed to ensuring that it remains available on a sustainable basis to the public. We have already received some expressions of interest and are inviting further such expressions from groups for the future provision of the music and drama service from April 2012 by November 30 2011.

“We will do all that we can to try and find a solution to this issue, so that alternative provision can be arranged in time for when current arrangements end.”

Coun John Procter, leisure spokesperson for Leeds City Council’s Conservative group, believes Leeds could adopt the collection.

He said: “Leeds City Council has recently approved plans to fit out a new archive facility in Morley. It will be used to house the West Yorkshire archives within the city. With further work it could present an opportunity to re-house the music and drama library.

Coun Stewart Golton, leader of the council’s Liberal Democrats said councils could be doing more to save the service and pledged his help in finding a solution to the issue.

He said: “None of the councils involved want to cut it, so I don’t understand why they aren’t doing more to find a solution to save it.

“Leeds has the British Library at Boston Spa, the independent Leeds Library and The University of Leeds Library, all major institutions who may be able to help. I have written to them all to see if there’s any prospect they could hold the collection.”

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