The prospect of closing 15 Sheffield libraries is grim. These facilities are key to any community, providing important services to young and old alike. But as the seemingly endless cuts continue to bite, is it realistic to expect the council to keep all libraries open when its budget has been slashed? Whether we like it or not, tough decisions have to be made because the days of subsidies have gone. Something has to give and priority has to be given to services for the most vulnerbale. So, now it is up to us respond. We appreciate those living in areas where the library is under threat will feel hard done by. The council must make it clear why these decisions were reached and explain the options. The ideal scenario is that community groups take over the running of those sites. Already, 27 expressions of interest have been lodged and the council must work with these groups to ensure every library is given every opportunity to stay open. Of course, the public consultation process may lead to some reviews, but it is clear we must now play a greater role in our community if we want its traditional services to survive. It’s time to make a choice and stand up for services we value.
Make a case for cycling
We all know cycling is good for us and we have no doubt it would benefit the city if more of us took to two wheels. But just how practical is it to make cycling part of your daily routine? An inquiry into cycling in the city has been launched and it wants to find ways of getting more of us on our bikes. A familiar complaint is the state of our roads. We hope once the city’s £2 billion road resurfacing programme is complete, the potholes will disappear and more of us will be tempted. Another thought is that safer cycle routes would reduce the fear factor. But the inquiry needs to establish if spending money on safer cycle routes would encourage more to use them. It’s an appealing prospect but in such austere times must have a sound financial case.