I want to respond to the recent letter about Sheffield libraries by David Kirkham from SCALP.
I very much recognise the hard work put into running the libraries – by the volunteers and the council’s own staff.
Also I really welcome and encourage the passion shown by the people of Sheffield for protecting these important facilities.
Our libraries are precious resources and need to be supported and nurtured.
That’s why I’m so proud that Sheffield is among the only large cities where there have been no library closures.
Mr Kirkham is welcome to review the extensive evidence from the consultation on the library changes which spanned two years and were subject to full external scrutiny.
His claim that the community-run libraries are based in the poorer parts of the city is entirely unfounded and there is a mix of council-run and volunteer-run facilities throughout all parts of our city.
I’ve said before that I am very happy to meet with SCALP to discuss how we can make our library service even better in the future.
We had to make changes to our library service due to the huge cuts that were forced upon us by the Government.
The community groups, and indeed our own staff, have responded admirably to this challenge.
I believe we should be celebrating what they have achieved and welcoming the activities they’re all involved in, not looking to do them disfavour by continuously talking about failures that are not happening.
I see every day that the community-run libraries, like the council ones, are active, busy places that reflect what their communities want from a library.
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all of the library volunteers, our own staff – past and present, and the people of Sheffield for all their hard work to keep the libraries open.
They’re fantastic places offering brilliant services in the community.
If you haven’t visited your local library recently – why not pop in and see what’s on offer.
A full list of all the libraries in Sheffield can be found at www.sheffield.gov.uk/libraries
Cabinet member for community services, Sheffield City Council