Protest against cuts to libraries gathers pace

Protesters prepare to set off on the Walk For The Library from St Annes Library

Protesters prepare to set off on the Walk For The Library from St Annes Library

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The battle to save Fylde libraries from the axe has been stepped up.

Just days after hundreds of library users staged a walk from St Annes to Ansdell and Lytham to make their point as 40 of Lancashire’s 74 libraries face being closed, some 80 Ansdell residents people attended a public meeting over the threat to the village’s library.

Meanwhile, St Annes county councillors Peter Buckley and Fabian Craig-Wilson have met with members of the Friends of St Annes Library, as well as with the leader of Fylde Council and members of St Annes Town Council to discuss ways forward in an effort to save the town’s library, which is under threat along with those at Lytham, Ansdell, Freckleotn and Kirkham.

Both county councillors say they feel the process adopted by the county council is not in the best interests of the people of Lancashire and have met with a member of the Lancashire asset management team in an effort to seek a positive solution for St Annes Library.

“We are also asking the residents of St Annes to please sign the e-petition – Save St Annes Library – which can be found on the LCC website,” said County Couns Buckley and Craig Wilson.

“Just go to e-petitions, register and then sign. The link is ePetition - Save St Annes Library

“Every signature is important – community support can make a difference. St Annes Library is more than just a place to check out books – it is a valuable community centre, used by all ages and by many varied community groups.”

Among those attending the Ansdell meeting, which followed a packed ‘read-in at the library earlier this month, were local councillors Richard Redcliffe and Ben Aitken, and Tim Ashton, who sits on both Lancashire County and Fylde Councils.

Friends spokesman Louise McLaren said: “Everyone there felt passionately about keeping the library open. There was some frustration that it is not clear what criteria LCC are using to determine which libraries should be closed, which made developing solutions much more challenging.

“Creating plans for a library that was a real centre of the community, in an even greater way than it is now, was generally agreed to be the way forward.

“Linking up with other council services was seen to be a constructive way to make the future of the library more viable. Ideas about running educational courses, using the IT facilities, linking with local schools, and other activities were also suggested. Other operating models that have been established across the country were discussed.

“One important suggestion was from 10-year-old Alice Burr, who thought that we should ask the children of Ansdell what they would use Ansdell Library for. It is a poignant reminder that we are fighting to keep the library open for future generations so that they can have the security of the opportunities that a local library brings. If we lose our library it will be gone forever.

“We need to do everything that we can to save our libraries.”

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