An essential social service

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Like Matthew Smith (Star letters, Wednesday, May 31), I couldn’t help but notice that the footfall figures from the door sensors at libraries in Sheffield have been removed from the council website. These used to be in a very prominent position on the library homepage for each library, alongside the issue figures from the Library IT System.

I wonder if the council could possibly be trying to hide the fact that visitor numbers at community libraries seem to be in rapid decline now that they have sacked the staff?

If the article in the Star earlier in the year (“Book loans drop by one-third at Sheffield’s volunteer-run libraries” February 12, 2016) is anything to go by, this is what is happening.

The council needs to come clean about the user figures, publish the footfall data for all libraries alongside the statistics from the library IT system on the council website (i.e. in public) once more. If it is found that the current policy has resulted in huge drops in usage, a task force of all Sheffield’s political parties, library users, trade unions and volunteers needs to be formed to see how this can be reversed.

The library service needs to be seen as the essential social service that it is, as opposed to the easy target for cuts that the council currently seems to view it as.

M Vaughan

Stannington Road, Sheffield, S6