Kirklees Council reviews library consultation plans

LIBRARY campaigners are to get more chance to have their say after Kirklees Council pledged to review the way it was asking for their views.

LIBRARY campaigners are to get more chance to have their say after Kirklees Council pledged to review the way it was asking for their views.

Public consultations are being carried out across seven libraries over the coming weeks to determine whether they could be volunteer-run.

The council has earmarked libraries at Shepley, Denby Dale, Slaithwaite, Golcar, Honley, Lepton and Kirkheaton as being suitable to be run by volunteer community groups from April 2013.

The move would see the council withdraw its paid staff from those sites.

Public consultations have already started at Golcar and Slaithwaite.

But library supporters have expressed concern about the way the process has been carried out, accusing the council of trying to ‘hoodwink’ volunteers instead of providing the reasons and other options for the move.

Slaithwaite campaigner Victoria Minton said: “They are asking people to volunteer on very little information.

“That is only one option. What are the others? Would there be a reduction in provision or could it close?

“We are urging people to say ‘No’ to volunteering until we know what the options are.

“They are getting people to say yes to volunteering by appealing to the goodwill of the community.”

Library-lovers from across four Kirklees wards joined together to approach councillors at the Valleys area committee meeting last week.

Holme Valley parish councillor Charles Greaves, who is helping supporters of the threatened Honley library, said: “We want this threat of closure withdrawn. It needs to be a collaboration including the staff, councillors and the community.

“This just feels like they are throwing the keys in the door while they drive off as fast as they can.

“The original consultation was leading you in one direction.

“It should be a free flowing formula to get the point across.

“They have not engaged with people for their views and suggestions.”

A Kirklees Council spokesman said: “The public discussions have started for Golcar and Slaithwaite libraries and we have taken account of people’s views on the way these are being run.

“Some of the questions and wording in future discussions will change as a result of this feedback because it was important for us to listen to people’s views and be flexible in our approach.

“These discussions are just the first stage and all expressions of interest, whether from individuals or community groups, will be considered.

“The council, with the support of all political parties, wants to ensure that we keep all our libraries open.”

 

Journalists

Doug Thomson
Huddersfield Town correspondent
Chris Roberts
Huddersfield Giants correspondent
Louise Cooper
Crime correspondent
Nick Lavigueur
Health Correspondent
Joanne Douglas
Local Government Correspondent
Linda Whitwam
Education Correspondent
Henryk Zientek
Business Correspondent
Val Javin
Features Editor
Martin Shaw
Mirfield Correspondent