A few years ago, I was one of those who campaigned to keep our local libraries open, in the face of Government cuts.
We all knew that some cuts were inevitable, but we resigned ourselves to losing some libraries, saving £850,000, because of the “wonderful reorganisation” the council promised.
So now, two years later, let’s evaluate the changes.
In 2012, 1,104,749 books were borrowed and in 2014/15, there were 661,003 borrowed. Down by 40%. In 2012, there were 43,089 borrowers, and in 2014/15, there were 24,265 – almost halved.
Looking at the statistics, 5,075 borrowers belonged to the libraries that closed.
We were promised that we could borrow library books in community access points – well, my local Silksworth Sainsbury s “no longer does it”, according to staff. Neither does my other, closest Silksworth access point.
I noticed that the number of borrowers at the City Library, with its £500,000 revamp, has fallen from 17,744 in 2010, to 9,429 today.
Finally, the local library was sold to property developers, who plan a totally inappropriate development that has locals up in arms.
The council claims that its reorganisation has been successful. How does it measure this? I’m tempted to say, with an elastic tape measure.
M Crosby, MSc,
Liberal Democrat Party
Secretary, East Herrington