27th Jun, 2019

Battle begins to save Bromsgrove libraries as county makes cuts (Video)

Harry Leach 2nd Nov, 2018

Residents have hit out over plans that put the future of Bromsgrove’s three libraries in jeopardy after Worcestershire County Council launched a 90-day consultation into the service.

Of the three libraries – in Bromsgrove town centre, Rubery and Catshill, it is the last two which face the biggest risk of closure according to a report by county officers.

Cabinet members have made it clear that they want to make savings of £1million in library services across Worcestershire by 2020-21.

To do that county officers say ‘an approach is required that will substantially transform library service delivery models’.

It’s the uncertainty of the situation which is bothering most residents and District Councillors.

Former librarian and Victoria Road resident, Kathy Morgan, said: “I cannot believe the County Council is even suggesting it can afford to lose a library.

“They are so important to the community because it’s not just about books. It’s also about our children’s futures.

“People need these facilities to be right on their doorstep and that can’t change.”

Rubery County Councillor Peter McDonald (Lab) has already set up a petition which calls for people to vote on saving the libraries.

He said: “I am also organising a protest on November 10 because this is not acceptable and we can’t allow this to happen. It’s paramount that we keep them open.

“They also provide a safe-place for children and people with learning difficulties to go.

“We will fight tooth and nail to make sure it stays that way.”

A county survey found that Bromsgrove Library is one of the libraries with the best value for money, coming just below Redditch, Malvern and Kidderminster.

But Catshill and Rubery were named as two libraries offering the least value for money.

Catshill also came on top as the library the ‘lowest need’, meaning its usage is low.

The future is uncertain but steps can be taken to avoid library closures said County Councillor Robin Lunn, the leader of the Labour Group at County Hall.

“The review of the Library Service challenges important sites such as Bromsgrove,” he said.

“Its libraries have a positive community impact for people of all ages and they must be defended.

“This review should not just be about saving them, but ensuring that they flourish in the years ahead.

“I urge everyone to show their support.”

To have your say head to Worcestershire County Council’s website and click on the ‘library’ section.

Let us know what you think about the cuts by emailing harry.leach@bullivantmedia.com

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