A best foot forward to save our libraries
Campaigners took to the streets to spread the message that Fylde libraries are under threat of closure.
Library users marched from St Annes Library to Lytham, via Ansdell, to raise awareness that three of the area’s five libraries face the axe.
In order to meet savage government budget cuts, Lancashire County Council proposes to close more than half of the county’s 74 libraries.
The Big Book Walk through south Fylde was led by the Friends of St Annes Library, two weeks after the Friends of Ansdell Library staged a ‘read-in’ to protest at the proposals.
The Ansdell Friends, who also took part in the walk, are following up with a public meeting tomorrow .
The walk started at St Annes Library – which dates back to 1906 – at 9.30am, arrived at Ansdell Library at approximately 11am, before reaching Lytham Library at around 1pm.
Stories and poems were read along the way and Pam Foster, secretary of the Friends of St Annes Library, said: “We will be fighting to keep St Annes Library open and organising other events similar to the Big Book Walk.
“We believe libraries are part of the fabric of our community and every effort must be made to save them from closure.
“There are pockets of great deprivation in the area and not everyone can afford to own a computer or have access to the internet.
“For many the library provides a vital lifeline and is at the very centre of the community.
“In particular the young and the elderly depend on them for information, recreation, access to computers and the like.”
“We hope the walk managed to get our message across and will be planning other events in the near future.”
The County Council, looking to make £262m worth of budget cuts by 2020, have announced that 40 of the current 74 libraries across the county face the axe.
But it will be some time before it is known which libraries across the county are to close, with the second phase of a detailed consultation process just getting under way.
The Friends of Ansdell Library’s public meeting will be held at Lytham St Annes Technology and Performing Arts College tomorrow, starting at 7.30pm.
Louise McLaren, chairman of the Friends of Ansdell Library, said: “It will focus on Ansdell Library, though of course the wider issue of libraries across the Fylde and Lancashire as a whole is likely to be discussed. We do not want any of our libraries to close.
“We recognise the budget pressures that LCC are under but do not believe that the full societal impact of closing libraries has been considered for with regard to the well being of library users and the community as a whole.
“We are really keen to get lots of ideas for how we can look for novel ways to use the library that will help to secure its future.
“If we can be innovative in how we think about the role of libraries we might be able to make a difference.
“We will be actively sharing any good ideas we get as we are keen to help all the libraries across Lancashire that might be facing closure.”
n Anyone intending to attend the meeting can let the Friends know by email at FO[email protected] or via www.facebook.com/save.ansdell.library are welcome to turn up on the night. Anyone driving is asked to use the Worsley Road entrance.