KIRKLEES Council is proposing to replace paid library staff with volunteers in seven libraries. In all these areas there are now campaigns to preserve proper libraries.
Libraries offer a vital and essential service to communities – and even more so at a time of rising unemployment and cuts in access to education and training.
Librarians are professionally trained and, with the best will in the world, even if volunteers do come forward and receive training it is difficult to see how they can replace properly qualified staff with all their knowledge and experience.
It is a misconceived idea and basically amounts to cutting a service that is of tremendous importance to the quality of life in a community.
Contrast the approach of Kirklees Council with what is happening in some other areas.
East Lancashire County Council is midway through a £6.5m programme to regenerate its 74-strong network of library branches.
It’s aim is not only to keep libraries open but to ensure that they will provide modern, flexible facilities, fit for the 21st century.
They are campaigning to change the way people think about libraries, letting them know about a brilliant range of facilities from borrowing the latest best-selling books and DVDs to accessing the internet for free and attending exciting events from children’s activities to live music.
This new approach was piloted by West Lancashire Council where eye-catching advertising on billboards and on phone boxes, on buses and on local radio raised the overall numbers of library users by 35%.
In Skelmersdale, where much of the advertising was placed, numbers increased by a massive 95%.
I think Kirklees should do a fundamental re-think of its poorly conceived plan and concentrate on how it can improve the appeal and use of libraries, otherwise there will be a vicious circle of cuts, less use and more cuts.
How long will it be until Kirklees is proposing to cut libraries altogether?
There is still time to sign the online petition which you can find by googling Save Slaithwaite Library. Or you can sign the paper petition in any of these village shops – Penny’s Pantry, Vanilla Bean and Hilltop Stores in Slaithwaite.
Marsden (Save Slaithwaite Library Campaign)
Staffies are great dogs
AFTER reading the story about the Oldfields and their pet staffie I would like to say they are right.
It’s not the dogs that are nasty. Before I started fostering dogs for West Yorkshire Dogs Rescue I was a bit wary of the Staffordshire bull terrier after reading a lot of bad press about them.
So when we got our first dog, Rigsby, a one-year-old staffie I thought ‘I’m not sure about this’ but after looking after Rigsby for a month I’ve totally changed my mind.
He was fantastic with kids, rolling on his back and was fantastic with other dogs.
They have a fantastic temperament and when he found a new home with his new family I was so pleased but really missed him, so we got another dog, Tilly.
She is yet another gorgeous staffie, a year old and before we took her she was going to be put down. Disgusting, as she was so well behaved. We showed her to sit and give a paw.
Staffies are so intelligent, soft and would make a ideal pet and Tilly was so excited to go for walks. She could be let off the lead, no problem.
She has a wonderful temperament and it is definitely the way people are with them. If things had have been different I would have kept Tilly. She was so faithful, a treasure and she also went to a lovely home after staying with us for two weeks.
Please give them a chance. We had Rigsby on a lead and because he was quite big people shied away from him and other dog owners let their dogs off leads. It was the other dogs that went for Rigsby.
I would definitely recommend staffies to anyone.
Parking bay frustration
I’D like to thank through the Examiner the selfish and arrogant couple who parked in the parent and child parking bays at Tesco in Huddersfield on Wednesday who didn’t have any children.
I was the person who approached you and enquired as to where your children were as you didn’t have any with you in the car.
I was, in no uncertain terms, told to mind my own business as you just walked off without any thought to other people who did have children in their car and a wife who is nearly nine months pregnant.
Cheers for that. It was most thoughtful of you and I hope you enjoyed your shopping as we struggled to get our baby out of our car as there were no spaces left.
When I approached customer services in store they said they were powerless to stop this happening and it happened all the time.
Why have these allocated bays in the first place if they are not going to be policed?
Tesco should either make more bays for parents and babies or stop these people from parking anywhere they want.
Tough times for Tesco
TESCO has fallen on hard times. Does that mean they will now review their interests round Huddersfield which is awash with supermarkets and fast food shops.
Another outlet we are not short of is betting shops, which for all their glamour can cause heartache to families in our austere times.
Huddersfield is a town where most find employment elsewhere.
What was once a booming economy is now a town you pass through.
Of course, these large supermarkets and other firms offer jobs and part of their application is to get a foothold in our town.
As most of the jobs now are part-time, families need a few jobs to make ends meet.
We are now suffering from selling off the family silver in the shape of our industry which once was a continuation of employment to our town.
One rule for the rich ...
COMPARING high street shop closures on an area to area basis is somewhat meaningless unless you factor in such things as average incomes.
In other words, you cannot compare millionaire’s row in Knightsbridge with main street Huddersfield on a one-for-one basis.
And, speaking of millionaires, what about those lucky enough to be receiving a million pounds and more in salary, thereby qualifying for an ‘invitation’ to one of the Prime Minister’s dinner parties and benefiting from the reduction in higher rate tax from 50p in the pound to 45p in the pound.
Now 5p doesn’t sound a lot, does it, but for an annual income of only £1m it equates to a tax rebate of £42,500 and a further £50,000 on every million after that so a boardroom executive on a salary of £2m and, believe me, there are a lot of people being paid an awful lot more than that, will be better off by £92,500 per year or £1,778 per week which, for a 37.5 hour week, equals £47 per hour.
Could someone explain this big society to me again? I’m still not getting it.
Town are fading
OH! To be in England and it’s wonderful traditions – Wimbledon, garden parties, bonfire night, turkey and Christmas pud, Easter eggs, Huddersfield Town’s annual fadeout.
Having watched Town over 50 years – the majority in the bottom two divisions – it seems to become almost inevitable.
Seriously, what has happened Mr Grayson? Three defeats in 63 league games and now four from five.
Watching Mr Grayson on television late on Monday evening, his main concerns appeared to be Leeds United and a Sunday afternoon ‘kickabout’ in Bedale, only trying to make a joke about Town.
I can assure him there were no Town fans laughing along with him.
Nobody would be happier than me if Town did make it, but I feel the enthusiasm has been drained, both from players and fans. We have seen it all before.
Folly of windpower
IS the reported popularity of wind-power (MORI, 21 April) related to a misunderstanding of the total costs involved?
They need constant back-up from alternative sources because their output is modest. When the wind isn’t blowing they stand as bleak reminders of human folly.
If these inelegant devices were truly first-class they would need no financial support from the near-empty public sector purse.
Tyson’s a big softie
INTERESTING that the dog-loving Oldfields have called their cuddly, harmless Staffordshire bull terrier Tyson. Did they name him after another big softy?