Community could take over Hull's Anlaby Park library
CAMPAIGNERS fighting to save a popular library have been told the council would support a community takeover.
But they have ruled out any prospect of a last-minute U-turn over plans to close Anlaby Park library in west Hull.
The branch library is earmarked to close under budget proposals being put forward by the city council's ruling Labour group.
The annual budget will be set at a meeting of the full council on Thursday.
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Campaigners against the move have already collected almost 1,000 signatures on a petition opposing the closure.
Now, senior councillors have revealed they will back any efforts by the community in Anlaby Park to take over the running of the building in The Greenway.
Council leader Councillor Steve Brady said: "If local people want to run it as a community facility, we will do everything we can to support them.
"I think it is our duty to look at every possibility.
"We want to work on the options with the community to make sure the facility is a fit place for activities.
"We are not saying it is going to be easy but we will try our very best to work with local people to provide a facility which may involve the community running services from there."
Cllr Brady said the council had made "outstanding efforts" to protect the city's library service from the impact of government cuts now facing the authority.
"In cities such as Sheffield and Newcastle, they have just decided to give up running their libraries full stop.
"In contrast, I think we have done some outstanding work in retaining our library service when many cities have just handed theirs over."
Michelle Alford, the council's assistant head of libraries, said: "We would look at the possibility of a community trust being set up to run the building as a community facility."
A scrutiny hearing into the Labour budget proposals was told a recent survey of the Anlaby Park library found it required £330,000 of structural repairs.
The building dates from 1915, when it opened as a recreation and social club for residents in the Anlaby Park estate.
It was later bought by the city council and converted into a branch library 49 years ago.
Hull-born actress Maureen Lipman has given her support to the campaign to keep it open as a library, having used it regularly during her childhood.
Lib Dem leader Councillor Abi Bell welcomed the offer of transferring the building to a new community trust but said she was worried that users were being given little time to organise any possible takeover.