TV agony aunt joins fight to save Sunderland libraries

Denise Robertson
Denise Robertson
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DENISE Robertson wants to meet Sunderland councillors over plans to axe nine libraries.

The TV agony aunt believes everyone on Wearside should have access to a library.

However, she admitted that savings needed to be made by the city council, whose ruling cabinet will meet to discuss the plans tonight.

Protesters have reacted angrily to news that Doxford Park, Easington Lane, East Herrington, Fence Houses, Hendon, Monkwearmouth, Silksworth, Southwick and Washington Green libraries face the axe.

Sunderland-born Denise, who believes a compromise can be reached, told the Echo: “I want to keep some library access for every single person in the city because I know how vital libraries are.

“However, I also totally appreciate that we can’t keep it at the same level, because there is not enough money.

“My aim is to sit down with the council and work out how we can get the best possible deal.

“I’m enough of a housewife to get that we can’t go on heating Victorian buildings and staffing them, all over the city.

“I wish we could, because libraries aren’t just about lending books.

“It is a question for me: is the council willing to talk to us about effecting change in a way that will not disadvantage anyone?”

The 79-year-old, who has been quoted as saying she grew up in poverty, credited city libraries with helping her become a successful author.

“When I was starting out, I was very hard up.

“If I had not been able to do all my research in the libraries, I would not have been able to do anything,” she said.

“Libraries mean everything to me. Thousands of times a year, in my role as an agony aunt, I direct people to libraries in their cities.

“To me, libraries are the most important part of the set-up anywhere in the city. But you have to cut your cloth according to your means.”

Denise has spoken with objectors from Hands Off Sunderland Libraries, which has launched a Facebook group and online petition against the proposed cuts.