The news that thousands of books are set to move to Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens by the end of the year, leaving the City Library building vacant, has caused a big stir among readers.
Sunderland City Council has also confirmed that the renowned Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art is looking for a new home - rumoured to be in the National Glass Centre.
The authority says the decision comes down to government cuts, which has seen it axe nine libraries and warn that further closures cannot be ruled out.
Now Wearside’s Liberal Democrats have called into question proposals, which they say are being handled in internal discussions behind closed doors.
Coun Niall Hodson, for Millfield and Thornholme, said: “People are rightly alarmed by these plans. “It is hard to see how the City Library and Museum wouldn’t suffer from being forced to share premises and losing so much space for books, computers, and exhibitions.
Coun John Kelly however argued that the move is the “continuing rationalisation of council services”, with the authority needing to save another £74million by 2019.
Coun Kelly added: “Future alternative uses for the City Library building are currently under consideration.”
On the Echo’s Facebook page, Pauline ‘Bowden’ Peel wrote: “Disgusting what a waste of money.”
Rachel Elizabeth Marshall said: “I love the library! It’s shocking that they will reduce space instead of expanding it. Sunderland needs more books. Education and culture are vital to strong communities.”
Mel Garraghan-Moore wrote: “To those who think it’s a disgrace and bad for our children to lose libraries, please encourage your children to actually use our libraries.
“As an employee, I love to see the library being used and would encourage more people to join.”
Paula Horsfall gave her opinion, saying: “This is heartbreaking. It’s where generations of Wearside kids learned to love books and where we all hung out for hours looking at the art and museum exhibits.”
Nichola Hesslewood wrote: “Mixed feelings on this one. Although it’s sad to see reduction in space for education and arts, I’ve often thought the library would be better used if it was still part of the museum.”
Emma Neale wrote: “They could build this gallery a new home on the seafront.”