Authors back Sheffield library battle

Broomhill Library Action Group out campaigning.
Broomhill Library Action Group out campaigning.
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Campaigners battling to save a Sheffield library have collected more than 1,000 names on a petition opposing closure.

Residents took to the streets of Broomhill canvassing shoppers after proposals to axe the branch.

Broomhill Library Action Group has been backed by residents including local novelists Philip Hensher and Danuta Reah.

Philip Hensher, whose novel the The Northern Clemency was partly set in Broomhill Library says he used the library almost every day for five years.

He said: “I read Broomhill Library from top to bottom. Without it, I wouldn’t now be a professional writer. I hope this decision is rethought.”

Broomhill is among 16 branches under threat as part of council cuts.

Meanwhile, residents battling to save another Sheffield library were left furious after they claim they were banned from holding a meeting to discuss their campaign.

Members of Save Park Library say they booked the meeting room a week in advance at the library on Duke Street.

But the day before their meeting they received an email asking them to contact library management – and were told the library could not be used.

Nick Howard, who lives in Norfolk Park and is a member of Save Park Library, said: “We were very, very angry – it’s a political move to try to make life difficult for groups like ours.”

Mr Howard said the 10 residents who wanted to attend the meeting on Saturday arrived at the library anyway.

They were turned away and instead gathered at a member’s house.

Mr Howard said: “We had booked a room at the library on December 14 to meet on the 21.

“But on Friday one of our members, Doug Bell, received an email from the library saying the manager wanted to speak with him.

“He went over to the library and was told that we could not have the meeting.

“Later that morning, Doug rang the manager at Central Library to find out why.

“He was told we couldn’t be given use of the library because our campaign was opposing council policy.”

But Sheffield Council said it had no record of a booking by the Save Park Library group – and that the library closes at 12.30pm on Saturdays

As a result, the group’s meeting would have been outside normal opening times.

The council denied Mr Howard’s claims about why the meeting could not take place.

Coun Mazher Iqbal, cabinet member for communities, said: “Keeping the library open for the meeting would have incurred running costs we cannot afford.”

Email libraryreview@sheffield.gov.uk or call Sheffield Council on 0114 2735299 to discuss library proposals.