This week Sheffield City Council will make its decision on the future of the city’s libraries.
As residents of Walkley, we sincerely hope our library will continue to remain a council-run service. We recognise that huge cuts from the Government have left the council with impossible choices.
But there is a General Election looming. In just over a year the political landscape of the country could be very different.
Councillors have recently found extra cash from a health and wellbeing budget, which they believe will allow the threatened libraries to run ‘independently’ as businesses.
We would urge them to continue to ‘think outside the box’ - to find a way of keeping these libraries under council ownership, with trained library staff.
Even one member of staff working with volunteers would be better than no experienced librarian - a part-time employee who could oversee several libraries on a peripatetic basis.
Walkley library was funded by Scottish industrialist and benefactor Andrew Carnegie in 1905.
If it closes, or is cast adrift to run independently, the Government will have succeeded in removing a long-standing service provided for the masses.
But if Sheffield City Council can find a way of hanging on to the libraries – even by a fine thread – we will all have a city we can be proud of in the future.
Carolyn Waudby & Dr. David Clarke