Motion slams 'short sighted' library cuts

<p>MLA chair Andrew Motion has told local authorities that plans to cut public library services in order to balance budgets are &quot;extremely short-sighted and counterproductive&quot;.</p><p>There have been reports that some authorities are consulting on plans to close libraries and reduce library services in the current credit crunch. In the Wirral, where the council plans to close 13 libraries after suffering major losses in the Icelandic banking crisis, local protests have been growing. A Facebook campaign, Save Wirral&rsquo;s Services, has so far attracted more than 2,200 members. In a separate development Ruddhlan library in Denbighshire, Wales, has also been threatened with closure.</p><p>Motion said that libraries offered &quot;spectacular benefits for people of all backgrounds, but especially for those in deprived circumstances&quot;. At a time of recession they are even more important than ever, he said: &quot;Retreating on facilities that inform, educate and enrich people&#39;s skills and learning would deprive people of uniquely valuable support at a very challenging moment for our nation.&quot;</p><p>The MLA chair added that while some library closures were based on a well-founded vision for improving the services, other cases were &quot;far less convincing&quot;. &quot;People everywhere really do need to stand up and be counted in their support for excellent public libraries, everywhere in Britain,&quot; he urged.</p><p>Motion&#39;s remarks came in the week that public sector union Unison launched a &quot;Defend the Public Library Service&quot; campaign, saying that the service was &quot;nearing a crisis point&quot; due to funding cuts and closures. General secretary Dave Prentis said: &quot;The library service is nearing a crisis point after suffering years of funding cuts, de-skilling of the workforce and recent threats of outsourcing.&quot; On Monday (15th December) Prentis met with Ed Balls, secretary of state for children, schools and families, to discuss library cuts.<br /><br /></p>