Councillors have got the ball rolling to save two local libraries.

Kirkburton Parish Council proposed a plan to save Kirkburton and Shepley libraries and will now investigate establishing a trust to transfer them form Kirklees Council ownership to the community.

They fear the libraries budget in Kirklees will be cut in half, putting some of them at risk of closure unless others step in.

Clr Derek Hardcastle, who is both a Kirklees and Parish councillor for the Green Party, proposed the Parish Council should: “Investigate the feasibility of establishing Parish Libraries Trusts where the current Kirklees-owned libraries at Kirkburton and Shepley are ‘asset transferred’ to the community by Kirklees Council.

He added: “We will seek a partnership agreement with Kirklees Council to retain library services including an enhanced service offering home library services to elderly and disabled householders in all villages served by the Parish.

“Furthermore the Parish will investigate and come back with proposals for transferring the Parish council office into Kirkburton Library to help ensure a sustainable future for this key community facility. ”

He was backed by councillors and his fellow ward and party member, Clr Robert Barraclough who also serves on both councils, saying: “There is a real danger that if we do not act decisively that we could lose rural library services.

Pictured outside Kirkburton Library are, l to r, Clr Robert Barraclough, Clr Andrew Cooper, Clr Cass Whittingham and Clr David Sheard
Pictured outside Kirkburton Library are, l to r, Clr Robert Barraclough, Clr Andrew Cooper, Clr Cass Whittingham and Clr David Sheard
 

“Kirklees has indicated that it is looking to halve the library budget. This could mean having only a few large libraries in towns such as Huddersfield, Batley and Dewsbury.

“We simply cannot wait for this to happen or just make meaningless statements from the sidelines. Those communities that take the initiative and act early will have the best chance of retaining services.”

The idea already has some support from Clr David Sheard, Kirklees leader, who signalled his support for the Kirkburton community to take on the libraries, saying he would talk to them about any potential ideas.

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