An article in the Doncaster Free Press today reports the situation with Denaby and Carcroft libraries, which were scheduled for permanent closure on 1st November:
The two Doncaster libraries that were due to close this week have won a last-minute stay of execution.
Carcroft and Denaby libraries had been expected to shut on Tuesday as part of the council’s moves to withdraw funding from 14 of its libraries.
But the entire scheme is now on hold after the opposition Labour group ‘called in’ the plans for further scrutiny.
The cuts – already approved by the Cabinet last month – will be reviewed by the Overview and Scrutiny Management Committee next Thursday.
Lauren Smith, from Save Doncaster Libraries, said campaigners were holding their breath.
“We will be outside the Mansion House from 9am and then go into the meeting to hear what is said,” she said.
“We hope the mayor will be more willing to listen than he was last time.
“Realistically, the chances of a complete turnaround are slim because of the politics of the situation.”
Labour councillors say the cuts conflict with social strategy and have an unfair impact on the borough’s poorest.
It has therefore asked the scrutiny committee to consider whether the cabinet’s decision has been made fairly and in line with council strategy.
Committee members will then present their recommendations to the cabinet and mayor for a decision.
A spokesman for the council was unable to say how long this process might take, but in the meantime libraries at Carcroft and Denaby – which were to have been replaced with a mobile service – will continue as normal.
If the committee does not find fault with the plans, a further 12 libraries will lose funding and be run by community groups by early next year.
They are Moorends, Rossington, Stainforth and Scawthorpe (from January 1); Bessacarr, Edenthorpe, Sprotbrough, Balby and Wheatley (from March 1 in new locations); and Bawtry, Intake and Warmsworth (which will continue to be volunteer-run in their current sites).
The cabinet hopes this will save £1.2m a year, helping it meet the goal of making £80m worth of cuts over four years to meet central government requirements.
Save Doncaster Libraries say it’s a tiny saving at a big cost to the community in terms of literacy and employability.
“Everybody in Doncaster has the right to the same standard of library service,” said Lauren Smith.
“To have one library in one area that’s council run, and then to have next door one that’s run by volunteers with reduced book stocks and reduced access to services, you are unfairly depriving people in that area.”
“You also can’t guarantee that when the funding stops there will be anything in place to keep the libraries running.”
She urged people to use their libraries this week, which she says have been badly marketed and run-down for decades.
Doncaster Council’s assistant director of customer service, Julie Grant, issued a brief statement this week.
“All libraries in Doncaster continue to be open for business as usual,” she said.
“Future changes will be discussed again by members of the council’s Overview and Scrutiny Management Committee next Thursday, November 10, before recommendations are presented at a future cabinet meeting.”