Campaigners' last-ditch attempt to save library
CAMPAIGNERS are stepping up their fight to keep a closure- threatened library open.
The Anlaby Park branch library in The Greenway, west Hull, is scheduled to close on Thursday, March 28, as a result of budget cuts by Hull City Council.
The council has so far refused to postpone the scheduled closure date, despite calls for more consultation over the issue.
Now, library users are examining the option of taking over the building and running it themselves.
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About 100 people attended a public meeting at the library on Monday to discuss their next move.
Councillor Karen Woods, who represents the area, said: "First and foremost, people want to see the closure decision reversed to keep the library open under the council.
"However, if that does not happen, it was agreed we must have a Plan B and that would involve setting up a community partnership.
"I was very encouraged that nine people stayed behind at the end of the meeting to volunteer their services if we ended up going down that route.
"In addition, another nine or ten who were also willing to give their time to helping set up a community partnership left contact details, while about 40 people said they would be prepared to give up their time to voluntarily help run the library on mornings, afternoons and at weekends."
Cllr Woods said the overall turnout and passionate support for the library had been impressive.
"People are still fighting for the library and the response from the public has been incredible.
"I know one or two people are still looking at the legality of the original consultation but it was also very heartening to see and hear from so many people willing to volunteer if it comes to it."
She said a concern remained over the time it would take to complete a transfer from the council to a new community-based organisation.
"We all know the problems associated with empty buildings.
"This process is not a quick or easy one. Unfortunately, the council leader has told me the library will close on March 28."
A 793-name petition calling for on the council to rethink its closure decision will be presented to a full meeting of the authority tomorrow in the Guildhall.
Barbara Bourne, who will present the petition, has run a weekly knitting club at the library for the past two years.
Mrs Bourne said: "We are calling on the council to reconsider its proposal to close Anlaby Park Library and ensure the vital services the library provides continues to be delivered to local people."
Councillors will also debate a motion tabled by Cllr Woods calling on the authority to delay any closure until the community has had time to properly organise an agreed takeover.