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Plea for rethink for Sheffield library rejected

Library campaign groups come together to give Vote of No Confidence in the council over needs assessment and library review.

Library campaign groups come together to give Vote of No Confidence in the council over needs assessment and library review.

A plea for Sheffield Council to go back to the drawing board over its library closure plans has been thrown out.

In a heated meeting – in which one councillor described proposals from her own cabinet as ‘terrible’ – the call for a fresh needs assessment from 14 campaign groups was rejected.

Protest groups from across the city came together for the first time after highlighting a number of ‘flaws’ in the Library Review.

Campaign groups and other protesters have pleaded for a rethink over the needs assessment criteria, used in determining which libraries would face the axe.

It used data based on which library a user is registered at, rather than their home address, and under 18s were not included in the assessment despite making up 31 per cent of library users.

Marcus O’Hagan, a campaigner for Upperthorpe Library, said: “Communities do not want to be pitted against each other. We sink or swim together.”

But the option of pushing back closures for another financial year was ruled out.

Decision day will fall at a meeting of Sheffield Council’s cabinet on Wednesday, February 19.

Coun Mazher Iqbal, Sheffield Council’s cabinet member for communities, said: “I do not believe there will be a need for further consultation after that date.

“This review started three years ago. Library usage is falling.”

Coun Jackie Drayton, cabinet member for children and families, said: “We would not be putting forward these terrible proposals unless we had to.”

 

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