MORE than 1,000 people have demanded their village library stays open.
Kirklees Council received a petition last night demanding that the planned closure of New Mill Library is stopped.
But the council’s regeneration chief defended the move, saying the library lends fewer than 300 books a year.
The council’s Labour/Lib Dem coalition cabinet has proposed closing the Huddersfield Road venue.
Cabinet member for regeneration Clr Christine Stanfield justified the plan at last night’s monthly council meeting.
The Lindley Lib Dem said: “This library is closing because of the vast cuts needed. We looked at six of the smallest libraries in Kirklees and found that New Mill had 288 users.
“It does not have a borrower for every day of the year, which does not make for a profitable library. It’s the library with the least number of books taken out. New Mill is deemed as the least well-performing library.”
And Clr Stanfield added that New Mill’s three Conservative councillors could have done more to help the library in the past. She said: “All three of them voted against the library moving to the Co-op. They were asleep on the job.”
Holme Valley South Conservative Clr Donald Firth presented last night’s monthly council meeting with a petition signed by more than 1,000 people demanding the library stay open.
He told the Examiner: “This is not time to close an efficient library which serves the people of New Mill and the surrounding area. On doing a quick check on people going to and from the library, literally hundreds of books are being borrowed every week.”
Clr Firth, who lives in New Mill, added that the library provided much more than book-lending. He said: “It is also an information centre in the Last of the Summer Wine area. The staff provide information to tourists who come to New Mill.
“Schools, scouts and guides use the library. If we lose the library, we lose part of the heart of the community. The library is also used by people who want to become computer literate.”
Clr Firth believes New Mill’s growing population needs a library.
He said: “The number of people using the library has increased from 11,648 in 2006/07 to 13,209 in 2007/08, even thought the library is only open three full days a week. With all the building going on in New Mill, I expect those figures to increase further.”