I WRITE to highlight the shocking decline of libraries in the UK since the start of the ConDem coalition government in 2010, which has seen 343 libraries closed with a further 111 planned this year. This has meant a staggering 7,933 library staff (around 25 per cent of the total UK library workforce in 2010) losing their jobs. A further 174 libraries have been transferred to volunteer or community run in the same period.
Libraries are needed now more than ever. They support so many people and contribute so much to local communities.
Aside from the books and free internet access, the social support staff can give to isolated groups such as the elderly or those with physical and mental health problems is invaluable. As with so many vital services, with 50 per cent budget cuts from local government and more cuts in the pipeline, it is a sad truth that libraries and other local services will continue to be cut. Sheffield needs a fairer deal from central Government to be able to properly fund its libraries and other vital services.
As a final word, a huge thank you to the former librarians at Stannington Library, the librarians at Central Library and all the others for all their hard work and support over the years.