Cuts to hit Liverpool library services

Cuts to hit Liverpool library services

Liverpool is the latest city to suffer library cuts as the council announced three locations will close in a bid to save £2.2m a year.

Liverpool Council revealed the closures last night (4th January), along with reducing opening hours at 17 other libraries, axing the equivalent of 76 jobs and scrapping its mobile library service, the Liverpool Echo reports.

The council claims the measures will save £2.2m a year from its £8m library budget. Cllr Wendy Simon, cabinet member for leisure and culture, said: “Given the current financial situation we face, doing nothing is not an option if we want to invest in maintaining a modern and comprehensive libraries service."

The libraries proposed for closure are in Close Edge Hill, Woolton and Great Homer Street.

Libraries campaigner Desmond Clarke said he was in "no doubt" a campaign group would rise up in Liverpool to fight the closures as they had done in other areas across the country threatened with library caulaties, such as Somerset, Gloucestershire, Brent and the Isle of Wight.

Clarke said: "The agenda is not being set by professionals or the government but by library protestors. The public is saying ‘we are not happy about libraries being closed’ and that is putting it in the spotlight."

Yesterday, councillors told Somerset County Council if it does not halt cuts to its library service it could be held in “contempt of court” after a High Court judicial review in November found the cuts should not go ahead because they were unlawful under the council's obligation to provide a "comprehensive and efficient library service for all those wishing to use it".

Clarke added: “We have to do persuade councillors that libraries are really important."