We hope it’s not the final chapter

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  • by Ellen Beardmore

We love our libraries!

That was the message shouted loud and clear across Sheffield - just days before a final decision on the future of city libraries is due.

Hundreds of people took part in The Big Shhh! online campaign by posing for pictures with one finger to their lips to highlight their fight to keep libraries open.

And more enjoyed a shelf-full of activities, from children’s storytelling sessions and displays of old photographs to writing workshops, to mark National Libraries Day on Saturday.

Mum-of-two Lu Watkins, from Crosspool, was at Broomhill Library’s celebration.

She said: “This library serves a massive area, including Broomhill, Ranmoor and Fulwood. My kids love to come down after school and we don’t have to use a car or get caught in traffic - we wouldn’t go to any other library.

“This event is a celebration and, if it is the last stand before library closures, we want to go down with balloons, smiling people and good memories.”

Crime writer Danuta Reah, who lives in Broomhill, was leading writing workshops.

She said: “Libraries promote a love of books, reading, communication - they are a real treasure.

“Closing them is one of the most shortsighted things I can think of.”

A decision by Sheffield Council on controversial plans to close up to 16 neighbourhood libraries, with some potentially becoming community-led or independent, is due next week.

More than 250 people visited Walkley Library to take part in a Big Shhh! flashmob, sign letters to councillors asking them to vote against closures, and write post-it notes to display about why they loved the library.

Walkley resident Annette Hobson said: “We want all the local libraries to stay open under council control. They are vital for the local community, running events such as parent and toddler storytimes.”

More than 50 people attended Totley Library’s celebration, which included the Big Shhh! and reading for children.

Campaigner Natasha Watkinson said: “There were people of all ages, from a newborn baby to OAPs. If it closes we won’t just be losing our last community facility it will also be a real eyesore as there is already a derelict building across the road.”

Park Library in Park Hill held a family reading event, with international author and Olympic torchbearer Debjani Chatterjee appearing as special guest.

Readers brought in tokens of appreciation for their librarians.

Organisers said it was a ‘positive and exciting event, though tinged with sadness’.

At Greenhill Library there was a ‘tremendous’ amount of support, with many people taking part in activities.

Burngreave, Frecheville and Stannington libraries also held events.




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