22nd Jul, 2018

Future of Warwickshire libraries under threat

FEARS have been raised over the future of Warwickshire’s libraries.

Funding cuts from central government have prompted Warwickshire County Council to look at reducing opening hours and Sunday services.

County library spokeswoman Coun Kam Kaur said “Many people are now using online services to renew their books. The old tradition of libraries are changing along with technology.

“This means people’s needs and demands are changing too, and the local authority needs to be forward thinking and adapt to those changes.”

But Labour county councillors have vowed to do everything possible to preserve library services and opening hours.

Coun Richard Chattaway said: “My colleagues and myself believe libraries are still well used on a Sunday. It’s where families go on a Sunday to give their children a library experience.

“They’re not just a place where books are kept. Libraries provide a valuable function in society and there are still generations which don’t use the online services.”

The changing face of libraries is highlighted in Whitnash.

The town’s library looks set to be replaced by a new multi-purpose hub on Acre Close Field. Alongside library services, the hub will also feature a sports hall, meeting rooms and a cafe.

Former mayor and Whitnash councillor Judy Falp said: “The hub will hold a range of different services bringing in people who perhaps are not library-users.

“Libraries are changing as so much such as renewing or ordering a book can be done online. People use search engines for reference enquires but there will always be a need and wish to look at it and borrow books.”

Library campaigner Tamsin Rosewell, who runs Kenilworth Books, has sent a letter to Prime Minister Theresa May to highlight the plight of libraries in the UK.

She wrote: “Our libraries stand as sentinels against ignorance in society. They also have a long history as places of sanctuary.

“At this time our children are bombarded with fleeting images, peer-group pressure and abbreviated language and dubious information on social media, we need libraries more than ever.”

A decision is set to be made on the future of Warwickshire libraries by the county council’s cabinet in March.

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