The fight goes on for library campaign groups

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Library campaign groups do not recognise the rosy picture painted by Coun Mazher Iqbal who suggests all Sheffield branches could now remain open.

No local communities want to run independent libraries - they want the council to run them. Campaign groups felt they had no choice but to submit business plans, it was that or face immediate closure. Many of the plans submitted will be basic, featuring a few ideas but backed by little substance. Faced with the enormous task of funding and running independent libraries without professional staff, few are likely to be implemented. Those that do will struggle to survive until limited council funding and support runs out after three years and they are left on their own.

Independent libraries are being set up to fail - the Council’s own report says that they are not sustainable and few will even get to the starting line. The £262,000 offered is a drop in the ocean and the council proposal remains as a network of hubs without spokes.

The position of campaign groups is unchanged - volunteers could be trained to work alongside professional staff in all current branches. This would allow some overall budget reductions and save some of the 75 full time equivalent jobs that are about to be lost if this goes ahead.

Nothing has changed - the fight to keep our “walk to” branch network goes on.

Annette Hobson

Walkley Against Library Closures