Stephen’s plea to save Bradford's libraries

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Stephen Wilkinson is appealing against library cuts Stephen Wilkinson is appealing against library cuts

A campaigner has started a mission to save libraries in Bradford from the “cull” of Council cuts.

Stephen Wilkinson, 23, has collected almost 400 signatures through on his online appeal started in response to Bradford Council review of the district’s library services.

He said: “The Council is proposing cuts to libraries and basically I just thought nobody was doing anything about it. Nobody was really defending it on a mass scale.”

Mr Wilkinson, who works for a travel company in Leeds, hopes to replicate the success of the campaign to save Bradford’s National Media Museum last summer. “I use the city centre library quite regularly and my local one in Clayton,” he said.

He set his petition up just over a week ago and has been pleased with public reaction.

He said: “I’ve had quite a positive response so far, nearly 400 signatures, but I’m hoping to get a lot more before I hand it in to the Council.

“I’ve had some authors contact me on Twitter, local ones and ones from further afield.”

The petition calls for Bradford Council to “stop the culling of the city’s library services – local, mobile and housebound – and continue to provide a Council- staffed and run service.”

It goes on to say: “People from all ages and backgrounds use the service and it is a disgrace that the Council can cut this.

“The Government says it is keen on improving education of young people but still allows Councils, like Bradford, to destroy the library service.”

Mr Wilkinson is concerned that some libraries will be cut to the point where a single shelf of books in a church takes the place of a community facility.

Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe, the Council’s executive member for culture, said: “In Bradford we have 30 libraries and, unlike other local authorities, we've managed to keep them all open except one.

“This is during a period of extraordinary cuts from national Government.

“The way we’ve managed to do this is by working with communities in Denholme, Addingham, Wrose and Wilsden who now run their own libraries and I’m grateful for their support in doing this.

“They are not left on their own but they are supported by professional library staff.

“With cuts from central Government of £115 million over the next three years and George Osborne announcing he’s not going to stop there, then we have to make sure that our library service can withstand further central Government cuts – hence the consultation.” A Council-run survey is now being used to start to identify other communities which might support such schemes.

The Council has already ‘co-located’ four libraries – including East Bowling into Bolling Hall Museum – which Coun Hinchcliffe said had resulted in moves to refurbished premises.

Two more libraries are at an advanced planning stage and the Council is looking to relocate two more to meet its budget.

Coun Hinchcliffe said. “In an ideal world I’d like not to have to make these changes.

“Libraries are important social hubs and should be financed accordingly.

“But when the Government slashes Bradford's budget by £215 million over six years then that's simply not enough to pay for the level of public services we have been used to.”

Mr Wilkinson’s petition is at you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/save-bradford-libraries.

Comments (8)

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6:52am Mon 27 Jan 14

Albion. says...

With the very severe cuts that have been and are being imposed, I can think of other local services that I would give priority to above libraries, Having said that, only one has actually been closed and the volunteer idea seems to be the way ahead.
With the very severe cuts that have been and are being imposed, I can think of other local services that I would give priority to above libraries, Having said that, only one has actually been closed and the volunteer idea seems to be the way ahead. Albion.
  • Score: -1

7:21am Mon 27 Jan 14

alive and awake says...

How many staff does it take to look after a few books? Visit your local Library and see. It's like visiting a mad house, not because they are busy, but the few customers they have are often shouting and balling, or reading out loud. The staff announce loudly every thing they are about to do or have done, quite pathetic, due I suppose to their obvious insecurity. This I have to point outdoes not apply to the new one in the City centre.
How many staff does it take to look after a few books? Visit your local Library and see. It's like visiting a mad house, not because they are busy, but the few customers they have are often shouting and balling, or reading out loud. The staff announce loudly every thing they are about to do or have done, quite pathetic, due I suppose to their obvious insecurity. This I have to point outdoes not apply to the new one in the City centre. alive and awake
  • Score: -10

11:24am Mon 27 Jan 14

A650 says...

Running a proper library is about far more than “just looking after a few books”. A properly trained librarian (as opposed to someone who shelves books) is able to help users find information not just in the library in hard copy but use the internet too (remember libraries are full of computers now). This is a very valuable service as it enables students to understand how to assess different sources. Without libraries and librarians people won’t have the skills to discern what they read on the internet and in print. Do we want a world where everyone believes everything they read on Wikipedia? For those without access to a laptop or PC at home libraries and librarians are vital as an educational tool. Bradford isn’t a well off city. If people are to better themselves and get out of poverty education is key and cutting libraries will only hinder them.

One thing people in Bradford seem to have missed is that the new central library has a collection that is a small fraction of what was available in the old building. We now have branch library in all but name.

No more cuts!
Running a proper library is about far more than “just looking after a few books”. A properly trained librarian (as opposed to someone who shelves books) is able to help users find information not just in the library in hard copy but use the internet too (remember libraries are full of computers now). This is a very valuable service as it enables students to understand how to assess different sources. Without libraries and librarians people won’t have the skills to discern what they read on the internet and in print. Do we want a world where everyone believes everything they read on Wikipedia? For those without access to a laptop or PC at home libraries and librarians are vital as an educational tool. Bradford isn’t a well off city. If people are to better themselves and get out of poverty education is key and cutting libraries will only hinder them. One thing people in Bradford seem to have missed is that the new central library has a collection that is a small fraction of what was available in the old building. We now have branch library in all but name. No more cuts! A650
  • Score: 8

11:55am Mon 27 Jan 14

Albion. says...

A650 wrote:
Running a proper library is about far more than “just looking after a few books”. A properly trained librarian (as opposed to someone who shelves books) is able to help users find information not just in the library in hard copy but use the internet too (remember libraries are full of computers now). This is a very valuable service as it enables students to understand how to assess different sources. Without libraries and librarians people won’t have the skills to discern what they read on the internet and in print. Do we want a world where everyone believes everything they read on Wikipedia? For those without access to a laptop or PC at home libraries and librarians are vital as an educational tool. Bradford isn’t a well off city. If people are to better themselves and get out of poverty education is key and cutting libraries will only hinder them.

One thing people in Bradford seem to have missed is that the new central library has a collection that is a small fraction of what was available in the old building. We now have branch library in all but name.

No more cuts!
So where do you suggest the cuts are made, in preference to libraries?
[quote][p][bold]A650[/bold] wrote: Running a proper library is about far more than “just looking after a few books”. A properly trained librarian (as opposed to someone who shelves books) is able to help users find information not just in the library in hard copy but use the internet too (remember libraries are full of computers now). This is a very valuable service as it enables students to understand how to assess different sources. Without libraries and librarians people won’t have the skills to discern what they read on the internet and in print. Do we want a world where everyone believes everything they read on Wikipedia? For those without access to a laptop or PC at home libraries and librarians are vital as an educational tool. Bradford isn’t a well off city. If people are to better themselves and get out of poverty education is key and cutting libraries will only hinder them. One thing people in Bradford seem to have missed is that the new central library has a collection that is a small fraction of what was available in the old building. We now have branch library in all but name. No more cuts![/p][/quote]So where do you suggest the cuts are made, in preference to libraries? Albion.
  • Score: 1

2:02pm Mon 27 Jan 14

basil fawlty says...

Albion. wrote:
A650 wrote: Running a proper library is about far more than “just looking after a few books”. A properly trained librarian (as opposed to someone who shelves books) is able to help users find information not just in the library in hard copy but use the internet too (remember libraries are full of computers now). This is a very valuable service as it enables students to understand how to assess different sources. Without libraries and librarians people won’t have the skills to discern what they read on the internet and in print. Do we want a world where everyone believes everything they read on Wikipedia? For those without access to a laptop or PC at home libraries and librarians are vital as an educational tool. Bradford isn’t a well off city. If people are to better themselves and get out of poverty education is key and cutting libraries will only hinder them. One thing people in Bradford seem to have missed is that the new central library has a collection that is a small fraction of what was available in the old building. We now have branch library in all but name. No more cuts!
So where do you suggest the cuts are made, in preference to libraries?
That may seem a fair question but surely in reality you wouldn't exepct a simple answer from an ordinary member of the public. The point in the main article is that there is no organised body putting forward the case for preserving the library services at a time when it appears that the Council is ploughing on with changes that do not appear to have been properly thought through. After all, Bradford Council has a very poor record when it comes to running this city.
I concur with the criticism about the size of the new central library as the whole process that condemned the old building and led to the transfer of the service to the new site appears to have been carried out hastily without adequate consultation with the public and without taking a longer term view.
[quote][p][bold]Albion.[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]A650[/bold] wrote: Running a proper library is about far more than “just looking after a few books”. A properly trained librarian (as opposed to someone who shelves books) is able to help users find information not just in the library in hard copy but use the internet too (remember libraries are full of computers now). This is a very valuable service as it enables students to understand how to assess different sources. Without libraries and librarians people won’t have the skills to discern what they read on the internet and in print. Do we want a world where everyone believes everything they read on Wikipedia? For those without access to a laptop or PC at home libraries and librarians are vital as an educational tool. Bradford isn’t a well off city. If people are to better themselves and get out of poverty education is key and cutting libraries will only hinder them. One thing people in Bradford seem to have missed is that the new central library has a collection that is a small fraction of what was available in the old building. We now have branch library in all but name. No more cuts![/p][/quote]So where do you suggest the cuts are made, in preference to libraries?[/p][/quote]That may seem a fair question but surely in reality you wouldn't exepct a simple answer from an ordinary member of the public. The point in the main article is that there is no organised body putting forward the case for preserving the library services at a time when it appears that the Council is ploughing on with changes that do not appear to have been properly thought through. After all, Bradford Council has a very poor record when it comes to running this city. I concur with the criticism about the size of the new central library as the whole process that condemned the old building and led to the transfer of the service to the new site appears to have been carried out hastily without adequate consultation with the public and without taking a longer term view. basil fawlty
  • Score: 4

2:26pm Mon 27 Jan 14

Albion. says...

basil fawlty wrote:
Albion. wrote:
A650 wrote: Running a proper library is about far more than “just looking after a few books”. A properly trained librarian (as opposed to someone who shelves books) is able to help users find information not just in the library in hard copy but use the internet too (remember libraries are full of computers now). This is a very valuable service as it enables students to understand how to assess different sources. Without libraries and librarians people won’t have the skills to discern what they read on the internet and in print. Do we want a world where everyone believes everything they read on Wikipedia? For those without access to a laptop or PC at home libraries and librarians are vital as an educational tool. Bradford isn’t a well off city. If people are to better themselves and get out of poverty education is key and cutting libraries will only hinder them. One thing people in Bradford seem to have missed is that the new central library has a collection that is a small fraction of what was available in the old building. We now have branch library in all but name. No more cuts!
So where do you suggest the cuts are made, in preference to libraries?
That may seem a fair question but surely in reality you wouldn't exepct a simple answer from an ordinary member of the public. The point in the main article is that there is no organised body putting forward the case for preserving the library services at a time when it appears that the Council is ploughing on with changes that do not appear to have been properly thought through. After all, Bradford Council has a very poor record when it comes to running this city.
I concur with the criticism about the size of the new central library as the whole process that condemned the old building and led to the transfer of the service to the new site appears to have been carried out hastily without adequate consultation with the public and without taking a longer term view.
Yes but cuts have been in every department. If it comes to a choice between more cuts to services to the elderly, disabled or children, then the library has had it! I accept that there is much wrong with cutting back library services but looking at the funding reductions from central government, tells me that there are more to come yet. Maybe (and this is only a thought) it's time that people paid to use libraries, at least in the short term.
[quote][p][bold]basil fawlty[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Albion.[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]A650[/bold] wrote: Running a proper library is about far more than “just looking after a few books”. A properly trained librarian (as opposed to someone who shelves books) is able to help users find information not just in the library in hard copy but use the internet too (remember libraries are full of computers now). This is a very valuable service as it enables students to understand how to assess different sources. Without libraries and librarians people won’t have the skills to discern what they read on the internet and in print. Do we want a world where everyone believes everything they read on Wikipedia? For those without access to a laptop or PC at home libraries and librarians are vital as an educational tool. Bradford isn’t a well off city. If people are to better themselves and get out of poverty education is key and cutting libraries will only hinder them. One thing people in Bradford seem to have missed is that the new central library has a collection that is a small fraction of what was available in the old building. We now have branch library in all but name. No more cuts![/p][/quote]So where do you suggest the cuts are made, in preference to libraries?[/p][/quote]That may seem a fair question but surely in reality you wouldn't exepct a simple answer from an ordinary member of the public. The point in the main article is that there is no organised body putting forward the case for preserving the library services at a time when it appears that the Council is ploughing on with changes that do not appear to have been properly thought through. After all, Bradford Council has a very poor record when it comes to running this city. I concur with the criticism about the size of the new central library as the whole process that condemned the old building and led to the transfer of the service to the new site appears to have been carried out hastily without adequate consultation with the public and without taking a longer term view.[/p][/quote]Yes but cuts have been in every department. If it comes to a choice between more cuts to services to the elderly, disabled or children, then the library has had it! I accept that there is much wrong with cutting back library services but looking at the funding reductions from central government, tells me that there are more to come yet. Maybe (and this is only a thought) it's time that people paid to use libraries, at least in the short term. Albion.
  • Score: 0

3:25pm Mon 27 Jan 14

A650 says...

How about stopping that council newsletter full of colour pics that comes through my (and probably every other resident's)letterbox every month? That would save some money.

Then there's the big screen on in the city centre showing breakfast TV or the evening news to nobody in particular. Does that always have to be on? I bet it would save some money if it was only on for special occasions. It's a waste of electricity and money. Do councillors leave their tvs on at home when they're out?

Perhaps directing resources into collecting uncollected council tax might bring in some much needed money?

The choice needn't be old folks homes OR libraries.
How about stopping that council newsletter full of colour pics that comes through my (and probably every other resident's)letterbox every month? That would save some money. Then there's the big screen on in the city centre showing breakfast TV or the evening news to nobody in particular. Does that always have to be on? I bet it would save some money if it was only on for special occasions. It's a waste of electricity and money. Do councillors leave their tvs on at home when they're out? Perhaps directing resources into collecting uncollected council tax might bring in some much needed money? The choice needn't be old folks homes OR libraries. A650
  • Score: 5

6:55am Tue 28 Jan 14

Albion. says...

A650 wrote:
How about stopping that council newsletter full of colour pics that comes through my (and probably every other resident's)letterbox every month? That would save some money.

Then there's the big screen on in the city centre showing breakfast TV or the evening news to nobody in particular. Does that always have to be on? I bet it would save some money if it was only on for special occasions. It's a waste of electricity and money. Do councillors leave their tvs on at home when they're out?

Perhaps directing resources into collecting uncollected council tax might bring in some much needed money?

The choice needn't be old folks homes OR libraries.
There are lots of ways of saving money, but apart from the unpaid council tax, those you mention wouldn't raise enough. I agree about the news letter, more because it's pointless rather than just as a saving exercise (although it would definitely bring some saving). Collecting unpaid council tax is a problem everywhere, it also involves expenditure in itself and the courts often order long-term staggered payments anyway. I agree that it doesn't have to be the choice that you mention, but it DOES have to be a choice of some sort and I personally would give priority to other things above libraries. Those that are now staffed by volunteers seem to be doing quite well by the way.
[quote][p][bold]A650[/bold] wrote: How about stopping that council newsletter full of colour pics that comes through my (and probably every other resident's)letterbox every month? That would save some money. Then there's the big screen on in the city centre showing breakfast TV or the evening news to nobody in particular. Does that always have to be on? I bet it would save some money if it was only on for special occasions. It's a waste of electricity and money. Do councillors leave their tvs on at home when they're out? Perhaps directing resources into collecting uncollected council tax might bring in some much needed money? The choice needn't be old folks homes OR libraries.[/p][/quote]There are lots of ways of saving money, but apart from the unpaid council tax, those you mention wouldn't raise enough. I agree about the news letter, more because it's pointless rather than just as a saving exercise (although it would definitely bring some saving). Collecting unpaid council tax is a problem everywhere, it also involves expenditure in itself and the courts often order long-term staggered payments anyway. I agree that it doesn't have to be the choice that you mention, but it DOES have to be a choice of some sort and I personally would give priority to other things above libraries. Those that are now staffed by volunteers seem to be doing quite well by the way. Albion.
  • Score: 1

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