LIBRARIES are often at the heart of a community.
They are a lifeline for many, from school children working on projects to older people who use them socially as well as to borrow books and attend computer classes to learn new skills.
Kirklees has 24 libraries spread across the authority area, but changes could be on their way. Speculation is rife that the council is looking at other ways libraries could be managed.
Although plans are in the early stages, it could mean some of the libraries face an uncertain future.
The council says that once councillors and staff have been briefed, the public will be invited to have a say on their library plans.
But they do admit they want to “know more about people’s priorities for public services”.
One rumour is that Kirklees is looking at ways to hand control of some libraries to local voluntary groups.
It is certainly what David Cameron’s Big Society is all about, but is it a realistic way of managing what is currently a daily public service? And is it right the council can be allowed to withdraw from running such a public service?
There will be many questions which need answers, especially given the worries among rural communities that their libraries are at risk.
Take away a rural library and a village’s focal point may disappear too. With it may go community group meeting places, computer classes and children’s reading facilities.
Whatever decision Kirklees Council makes, it’s unlikely to suit everyone, but they really must consider the views of all communities affected before any decision is made.