MORE people are using a library which is threatened with closure.
Kirklees Council plans to shut New Mill Library to save money.
But new figures uncovered by the trade union Unison show the Holmfirth Road venue is getting busier.
The library had 12,285 visitors in 2008-09, up from 11,696 the year before.
Clr Donald Firth is campaigning to keep the library open. The Holme Valley South Conservative said: “The library is more than well-used. I was there last week and there were about 40 children there with their parents. There were people borrowing books and using the computers.
“There are 400 schoolchildren who use the library and their teachers are amazed that the council would even consider closing it.”
Clr Firth said New Mill Library could become even more popular.
He said: “Visitor numbers have gone up by 600 at New Mill.
“There are more than 50 new houses planned for the village which will bring extra trade to the library.
“I will fight every inch of the way to save the library because it’s the lifeblood of New Mill.”
Clr Firth also criticised the ruling Labour-Lib Dem Cabinet for planning to close New Mill Library rather than Kirkheaton Library.
He said: “This Cabinet have pumped £30,000 into a library in Kirkheaton that’s doing nothing when they have another library three-quarters of a mile up the road in Dalton.”
But Cabinet member for regeneration Lindley Lib-Dem Clr Christine Stanfield said Clr Firth should have secured funding for New Mill Library when the council’s budget for 2009-10 was being decided earlier this year.
Clr Stanfield said: “The councillors for Dalton said ‘no way, the library in Kirkheaton is not closing’ so they got £30,000 to keep it open.
“That did not happen with New Mill Library.
“None of the three Conservative councillors for the area came forward, they just let it pass.
“It’s no-one’s fault but their own.”
The council’s Cabinet announced last month that New Mill Library would close. Clr Firth has collected more than 1,000 signatures to a petition opposing the move.
New Mill is the latest village in Kirklees to face the prospect of losing its library.
In 2007 the council proposed closing the historic library at Stocks Walk in Almondbury and opening a new branch elsewhere in the village. But councillors backed down from the plan to shut the library, built in 1904, after residents protested.
The plan to close Kirkheaton Library was also reversed last year.