Saturday, 6 October 2012

Labour move to axe three Southport Libraries?


Southport Lib Dem councillors have hit out at plans by Labour controlled Sefton Council to shut down Ainsdale, Birkdale and Churchtown Libraries.

Birkdale councillor and leader of the 20-strong Lib Dem opposition group on the council, Iain Brodie Browne has attacked the proposal as “completely unacceptable”.

Sefton Council’s ruling Cabinet comprises seven Labour councillors, all from Bootle, and is due to consider the report “Review of Library Service” at its meeting on Thursday 11 October.

The Cabinet is recommended to agree “Option B” for formal consultation.  This would mean the closure of the majority of Sefton’s libraries, including three out of the four in Southport.

The report refers to “a programmed closure of 7 libraries over two years”, leaving just six libraries still open.  Southport would retain only the central library, due to reopen within the renovated Atkinson.

Councillor Brodie Browne said: “The four libraries in Southport are some of the busiest in the borough.  To close three of them is completely unacceptable.”

“The current libraries in Southport had 510,000 book issues between them last year.  The four in Bootle made just 190,000 issues.”

”So I am particularly appalled at the suggestion that Bootle will keep two libraries (Bootle and Netherton), whereas Southport is being cut down to just one.”

"Perhaps we shouldn't be surprised as Sefton Council is now run by Bootle Labour.  12 out of the 14 senior positions on the Council are now taken by Bootle Labour, including all of the Cabinet members," said Cllr Brodie Browne.

Councillor Haydn Preece is a founder member of Friends of Ainsdale Library and has pledged to fight the plan to shut the village’s library.

“Ainsdale Library is a central part of our village community.  I will fight tooth and nail to save what is one of our key facilities.”
Councillor Nigel Ashton, who represents Churchtown and Crossens, has also condemned the proposal to close Churchtown Library.

Cllr Ashton said "Churchtown is an efficient, friendly library which lends out over 110,000 books a year. Closing such a well used library is an act of cultural vandalism"



Notes to Editor:

1.  Photograph attached.  “Liberal Democrat councillors campaigning against a previous threat to Southport Library – December 2009”

item of 5 at the top
  • Supplementary Agenda PDF 5MB

3.  Two key parts of that report are:

Recommendation (f)
consider the options contained in this report and approve Option B for consultation and engagement with the community, staff, partners, including businesses, voluntary, community and faith sectors, to transform the way Sefton delivers its library service”

and Option B
“6.8 This option proposes that there will be a library in each of the five townships of Sefton plus the existing co-located facility in Netherton. This option would involve a programmed closure of 7 libraries over two years with the possibility of developing a network of book collection & return points across the Borough in other Council & partner buildings, plus a review of the home visits service for the most vulnerable as mitigation for closed libraries and an extension in other areas where there is currently no provision. There would remain a library service building in the following locations/areas:

§         Bootle. Operated either from the existing Bootle library or another location within the town centre.
§         Crosby. Operated from either the existing Crosby library, or the College Road library, or co-located with another Council, community or private facility within the area, or a re-developed facility in the area.  The provision of a library service within the Crosby area will need to consider the future of the local history and information service, the stock services unit and office space for specialist staff currently based at Crosby library. The local history service occupies a considerable amount of storage for its archives and other material, which have to be kept in certain environmental conditions, and options for this service will need to be developed.
§         Formby. Operated either from the existing Formby library or another location within Formby.
§         Maghull. Operated from the existing co-located library at Meadows
§         Netherton. Operated from the existing co-located library at Netherton Activity Centre
§         Southport. Operated from the imminent co-located library in the Atkinson in Southport

4.  Page 146 of the report includes the following table:

5.       Summarising the “Items Issued” column in the above table:

2011-12 Issues ranked in order












College Road














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