TWO Colne Valley libraries could keep their paid staff after months of protest.
Earlier this year Kirklees Council revealed a controversial proposal to remove employees from seven village libraries around Huddersfield – including those in Slaithwaite and Golcar.
Officials had hoped that volunteers would come forward to take over the centres.
But the council’s chief librarian Carol Stump has now admitted that this is unlikely.
Speaking at a public meeting at Marsden Mechanics Hall, she said: “The consultation finishes on August 8.
“There’s not a particular will to take over libraries and run them, but there’s some will to volunteer to help us to run the libraries service.”
June Jones, who has led the campaign to keep paid staff at Slaithwaite Library, told the meeting there had been a “sea-change” in the council’s attitude.
“There’s been a lot of ambiguity but it feels like the mist is clearing.
“There is a glimmer of hope that the council seems to be saying that they want libraries which are fit for purpose.”
Mrs Stump and Kirklees cabinet member for libraries Clr Shabir Pandor were questioned about the changes for nearly two hours at last Thursday’s Colne Valley Area Committee.
Several speakers criticised the way the council has run consultation on the proposed changes.
Nuala Reilly, who lives in Cowlersley but uses Slaithwaite Library, said: “The fear has been growing and growing and growing.
“No-one knew what the consultation was about. People feel they are being attacked due to very, very poor consultation.”
Pat Jones, who also uses Slaithwaite Library, told the officials: “In the Colne Valley we’re known for our plain speaking.
“When we’re talking about cuts we don’t dress it up as ‘different ways to deliver the service’.”
Clr Pandor told the meeting: “In any consultation you have learning points, all I can say is ‘sorry’.
“We’ve learnt that there are things we can do better.”
The Batley West Labour man hinted that the plan to withdraw paid staff from the seven libraries could be ditched.
“The feeling is that you want some involvement but you don’t want to be running libraries,” he said.
Consultation on the plan for libraries in Slaithwaite, Golcar, Honley, Kirkheaton, Denby Dale, Lepton and Shepley will end on August 8.
The council’s Labour Cabinet is due to consider the results of the consultation at a meeting in the autumn.