A senior councillor is urging a community to get involved to save Skelmanthorpe Library.

Kirklees Council faces massive funding cuts and the library service faces a budget cut from £6.3m to just £2.8m – potentially leaving only two libraries and the home delivery service.

Communities can step forward to save their libraries but Labour councillor Graham Turner, Cabinet member for Resources, says they need to act now.

He attended a meeting of 80 residents at the Savoy Youth and Community Centre in Skelmanthorpe and explained the challenges and way forward.

Clr Turner (Denby Dale) spoke out in answer to questions about the removal of the mobile library service.

“The coming few years will not be without pain as the cuts in the spending power of the council is reduced,” he said.

“Cuts in services will affect us all and I did not become involved in politics and public service to make anyone redundant or take away services from the residents of Kirklees. It’s not what I believe or what I want, but the present government is waging a war on northern local councils and the public are the victims.

“The next step forward is to hold a meeting with those members of the 80-plus audience who wished to look at alternative ways of protecting the library service in the village. It’s hoped that this will be in the next few weeks.

“If you want it then you have to get involved. I and Kirklees officers will do all we can but we can’t do it alone. It’s your library service so get involved and fight for it.”

Denby Dale Councillor Graham Turner
Denby Dale Councillor Graham Turner
 

Clr Turner was supported by members of the Kirklees library service as he told residents the council has to make a further £70m of cutbacks in addition to the £80m savings already made.

If communities step forward to show an interest in volunteering to save their local libraries, councillors will try to find money to help them and Kirklees predicts that could mean having to find £1.5m.

Clr Turner added: “The challenge is now to find the extra funding to enable this option.”

The Examiner has already revealed that one option will leave just Huddersfield and Dewsbury libraries, plus the home delivery service for the housebound.

Communities in Golcar, Meltham, Marsden, Kirkburton and Denby Dale are among those to step up to save their libraries.

Kirklees says up to 1,400 jobs could be lost as they try to balance the budget.