Councillors agree to withdraw from running libraries

Have your say

Almost half the libraries in the Wakefield district could be closed after councillors gave the plans their backing yesterday.

Members of Wakefield Council’s cabinet were asked to back a proposal that would see the authority continue to run only 13 of its 25 libraries.

Libraries under threat are in Ackworth, Altofts, Crofton, Havercroft, Kettlethorpe, Kinsley, Middlestown, Outwood, South Kirkby, South Pontefract, Upton and Walton but their futures will depend on whether any community groups are interested in taking them on.

Yesterday’s decision means the council’s plans for a new-style service will go out to a third stage of the public consultation, to collect views on what the service should be like and to build on the interest the authority says is already being shown by organisations themselves in running library services.

A fund will be created to help other organisations deliver satellite services in communities where the authority says branch libraries are no longer being widely used.

The council says interest in supporting the library service has come from organisations such as town and parish councils, a staff co-operative, faith group and community groups.

The authority needs to save £67m over four years.

A report to members of Wakefield Council’s cabinet says compulsory redundancies are likely.

Councillor David Dagger, cabinet member responsible for libraries, said earlier: “We know that people are not satisfied with the quality of some library buildings, or with the quality and range of the books.

“And, since 1992, more than four out of every 10 library users have stopped going into libraries.”