Thursday, 6 October 2011

Save Doncaster Libraries - Moves to cut library funding criticised

CONTROVERSIAL plans which will see a council cut its funding for more than half of the libraries in a Yorkshire town have been unveiled and met with a barrage of criticism from campaigners.

Earlier this year Doncaster Council launched a consultation on the future of 14 of its 26 libraries after elected Mayor Peter Davies said the authority could no longer afford to run them.

The other 12 libraries in the borough will continue to be funded, but Mr Davies said he wanted to see community groups and volunteers come forward to secure the future of those under threat.

Yesterday the council said it had sent out 65,000 questionnaires to people living near to the 14 libraries under review.

According to the authority, 7,000 people responded and “following discussions with volunteers, community groups, and library action groups, a series of recommendations have been drawn up”.

The proposals are community run libraries in existing buildings at Bawtry, Intake and Warmsworth and community-run libraries in a different venue at Balby, Bessacarr, Edenthorpe, Wheatley and Sprotbrough.

Self-service libraries are expected to be run by volunteers inside exiting council buildings at Moorends, Rossington, Stainforth and Scawthorpe, with mobile libraries at Carcroft and Denaby.

Mr Davies said: “We need to concentrate the council’s limited resources on raising the standard of the 12 funded libraries so they attract a higher amount of use.”

He added that currently, the 26 libraries cost £5.26million to run each year and this does not include the money needed to maintain and invest in the buildings.

Yesterday, the pressure group Save Doncaster’s Libraries dismissed the plans unveiled and said the mayor had not carried out the proper assessments needed to allow the council to end its association with the 14 libraries.

The council’s ruling cabinet will meet to discuss the proposals next Wednesday

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