Fight to save threatened Sheffield libraries a family affair

Youngsters pictured at campaign event to save Totley Library
Youngsters pictured at campaign event to save Totley Library
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The importance of family activities at a threatened library was highlighted – as campaigners called on Sheffield Council to extend funding to help community groups take over branches.

Up to 16 of Sheffield’s 27 community libraries are set to close unless third parties come forward to run them.

Sheffield Council is offering cash to help cover the running costs excluding staffing at five of the threatened branches.

But Matt Kik, of Save Totley Library, which organised a family fun day to highlight services for youngsters at the branch, said the offer could be extended to all 16 sites.

He said: “It would cost about £140,000 for the council to extend the offer to cover running costs at all branches – provided volunteers could be found to run them.

“This is not a large sum, which could surely be found.”

Mr Kik, aged 35, a full-time father, said 12 volunteers have been recruited so far to help run the branch.

Save Totley Library is planning further events including a rally and protest march in early November to highlight services for adults and pensioners provided at the branch.

Meanwhile, Sheffield Hallam MP Nick Clegg and Liberal Democrat councillors helped Crosspool residents gather signatures on a petition to save Broomhill library.

And a meeting will take place from 7pm tonight at Frecheville Methodist Church, Smalldale Road, to recruit volunteers to run Frecheville Library.

Coun Mazher Iqbal, Sheffield Council cabinet member for communities, said: “The idea by Save Totley Library will be considered although I have to work within a budget and save £1.6 million on the annual cost of running libraries.

“Other proposals have been put forward at meetings with community groups which include moving Broomhill Library into Weston Park Museum and saving money at Gleadless Valley by moving the tenants’ hall and housing office into the library building.

“We have set up a 12-week consultation process, which ends in January, and all ideas will be considered.”