South Yorkshire councils manage to save libraries

Coun Jenny Platts, Barnsley Council
Coun Jenny Platts, Barnsley Council
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Library closures are causing controversy in Sheffield - but neighbouring South Yorkshire councils say they are keeping all branches open.

Barnsley Council says it has finalised a proposal which will allow all 17 branches to remain.

Residents have been consulted on changes to the library service in the town, which include reduced hours at some branches to save money, and two-thirds of people who responded were in favour.

Now the plans are set to be approved by the authority’s cabinet next week.

Coun Jenny Platts, Barnsley Council’s cabinet spokesperson for communities, said: “The new opening hours have been developed according to local demand, and mean that some library opening times have increased, as well as some being reduced. There’s no change for Central Library, Priory and Worsborough, and increased hours for Penistone and Grimethorpe.”

Meanwhile, Rotherham Council said it has ‘no plans’ to close any of its libraries over the current financial year despite facing hefty budget cuts.

Sheffield Council plans to keep open just 11 of 27 community libraries to save £1.6m a year. Community groups have been invited to take over other branches or they will close.

Coun Shaffaq Mohammed, Sheffield Council’s opposition Liberal Democrat leader, said: “The approaches of neighbouring councils are very different, which shows Sheffield could have a rethink and avoid closures.”