Trying to Save Bilton Library
I live in Bilton, which is a part of Harrogate in north Yorkshire, UK. In their response to the need to cut costs in the current economic council, North Yorkshire County Council is proposing to close a number of local libraries, including my local library, and require the public to use the services of Harrogate central library. This has recently been refurbished at a significant expense.
On Saturday a group of local people gathered outside the library to demonstrate their opposition to the threatended closure.
I walked over to the protest, together with our daughters. They have been using the library every two or three weeks since they were a couple of years old and I know, having met many other parents in there, that we are not alone in this usage.
A walk into Harrogate central library is in excess of 1 mile each way, or requires an expensive bus or car journey. If that were the alternative our, and many other children, would lose out on the joy of library usage and the opportunity to read and access many more books than we could ever provide through purchase. The views of parents and children were clear.
As well as serving parents and children, the library also provides a valuable service and community centre for the older generations, who were also willing to turn out and ake their views known.
Local MP Andrew Jones turned up to express his support, together with local councillor Greta Knight. I was impressed that Greta Knight remembered that I had written to her about a different issue some months before!
Greta Knight was collecting signataures for the petition against the closure. This can also be signed online here – please do sign this if you are opposed to this type of cut in local community services, which would have such an impact on local people.
There are other petitions protesting the proposed closure of other local libraries in North Yorkshire, including Starbeck and Pately Bridge amongst others. The full consultation can be read here. As well as signing the petition, the more local people who respond to the consultation the more likely it is that the libraries can be saved.
The small demonstration on Saturday reflects a real commmunity concern over the proposals. There will be another meeting on the evening of 22 Feb at Bilton Community Centre at 7pm where people will have the chance to air their views.