The front page of The Yorkshire Post today features an article about the worrying future of public libraries and fears of widespread closures. The Yorkshire Post say:
…there has already been a significant reduction in the number of libraries across Yorkshire over the past 10 years.
There are now 19 fewer libraries than there were in 2001/02 – a reduction of more than five per cent. Many councils have also slashed the numbers of librarians and other professionals working for them. In Barnsley, the number has been reduced from 80 to 51 full-time equivalents, and in Bradford from 184 to 132 – both reductions of around 30 per cent.
There is a fear that libraries are a “soft target” for council bosses, who don’t understand how important libraries are and how much they benefit communities and councils.
Doncaster isn’t in a unique situation, but is important that communities tell councils about the detrimental effect that branch closures would have on their lives. We can’t let Doncaster Council close library branches without conducting proper research about how badly affected communities would be, and how much they would benefit from improved services.