Thanks at the end of an era

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Librarians have been thanked for their stellar service – as Sheffield’s libraries begin a new chapter today.

Customers visited Woodhouse Library last week to say goodbye to Sarah Briggs and Tracey Higginbottom, presenting them with cards, gifts and refreshments.

Tracy had worked as a librarian for 24 years, 14 of them at Woodhouse, and Sarah for 12 years at Woodhouse – and both will now be based at other libraries.

Today volunteers across the city will be opening the doors of libraries, turning a new page on their management.

They stepped in to keep their local sites open after Sheffield Council controversially decided to relinquish control of 15 facilities to save money in the wake of budget cuts – despite lengthy protests from thousands of people.

Coun Mazher Iqbal, cabinet member for communities and public health, said: “I would like to personally thank each and every volunteer for all their hard work, as they take responsibility for running their community libraries from Monday.

“Everyone has put in an incredible amount of work and I’m very pleased to say, thanks to the people of Sheffield, all 28 libraries in our city are staying open.

“The groups have come forward with some great plans for the branches and I’d encourage everyone to visit their local library to see what’s on offer.”

Broomhill, Frecheville, Gleadless, Stannington and Upperthorpe libraries will all open today, with the eight other branches opening later in the week or the following week, as final preparations are carried out.

The council is continuing to manage Walkley and Burngreave libraries for an extended time until business plans have been agreed.

The Walkley Community Library Futures Group and Forum Café bars have agreed to develop a joint plan to manage the branch, and the council is continuing discussions with regard to Burngreave Library.

Library members will still be able to use their existing library cards to borrow books and use services across the facilities.