Public show their support for Downend’s library
Published on: 02 May 2016
HUNDREDS of people have signed a petition in support of Downend Library.
They are backing campaigners who want to make sure the library stays open five days a week to serve the community.
And there’s still time to make your views known: a three-month consultation on the future of libraries across South Gloucestershire comes to an end on May 13.
The council wants to make
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savings and is considering various possibilities but has promised no changes will be made before October next year.
Its favoured option would involve reducing opening hours at Downend Library from 41.5 a week to 18. Emersons Green and Staple Hill libraries would be subject to similar cuts, meaning each would be open on only a couple of days a week.
Another idea under consideration would see all but five main libraries – Kingswood, Yate, Patchway, Thornbury and Bradley Stoke – closed altogether.
Campaigners for all the libraries at risk are likely to attend the next full council meeting on May 18 at 7pm to put forward the case for remaining open.
They have won the backing of Filton and Bradley Stoke MP Jack Lopresti, who says the cuts proposed are “drastic and highly damaging”.
Kingswood MP Chris Skidmore has also been talking to campaigners and is looking at alternatives to closure, including the use of volunteers.
More than 1,000 people have signed the petition backing Staple Hill Library, while supporters of Downend Library took to the streets in the village centre on April 24 to collect names.
Sue Poole, vice chair of the Library Users’ Groups for Downend and Staple Hill, organised the protest and was delighted at the response.
“More than 300 people have signed in just a couple of hours.” she said. “Everyone is very supportive. The library is a vital part of our community.”
Florence Jones and Grace Callaghan, members of the Knit and Natter group which meets every Monday at the library, were out collecting signatures.
They said the library was important not just for borrowing books but as a centre for the community, hosting toddler rhyme sessions, children’s activities, computer courses and talks.
“My great grandchildren love to come and see me and go to the library. I should be very sorry if it closed,” said Mrs Jones.
For further details, visit the consultation page on the council website or collect an information pack from the library.