Fight is on for Sheffield city library

Cllr Mazher Iqubal speaks at a public meeting about the proposed closure of Upperthorpe Library
Cllr Mazher Iqubal speaks at a public meeting about the proposed closure of Upperthorpe Library
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Angry residents battling to save their local library have spoken of their disappointment in Sheffield Council.

More than 100 residents crammed into a public meeting at Upperthorpe Library at the weekend to put their opinions on record as part of a 12-week consultation over plans to shut libraries across the city.

The library – which has the longest opening hours of any in the city – is facing closure after recent council budget-cut proposals.

Derek Morton, aged 63, of Walkley, pleaded with the council to ‘use a little more imagination’.

He said: “It will be a terrible blow to this community if we lose this wonderful facility. We need another solution.”

John Baxter, aged 65, of Springvale, said: “Libraries like this contribute to our mental health and places like this need to survive.

“We need to save these facilities that provide education and opportunity.”

The library is housed in the Zest community centre, on Upperthorpe Road.

A spokesman for the friends of Zest Group, said: “We want to see the library retained as a fully-funded council library.

“The Zest Centre is a community facility which houses a range of services under one roof and this co-location makes the library very cheap for the council to run.

“There is excellent disabled access and the library’s IT suite has the fifth highest usage of all libraries in the city.

“The library is used not only by local residents from surrounding deprived neighbourhoods, but also by people from across the city. These factors have not been taken into consideration in the council’s library review.”

Members of the Friends of Zest Group say Upperthorpe Library should be used as a model for other community libraries rather than be closed.

Parent David Smith said: “I bring my children down to swimming lessons here every week – whilst one swims, the other sits and reads with me in the library. 
“Having such a well-integrated facility makes it possible to have this great one-on-one time together rather than sitting by the pool.”