|Simon Shaw addresses the BLAG meeting|
The people of Birkdale turned out in force for Public Meeting at St Johns Church Hall in Birkdale last week, called by the Birkdale Library Action Group (BLAG), .
The meeting was convened following the decision, 10 days ago, of Sefton Council’s ruling Cabinet (Labour Controlled) to reject a bid submitted by BLAG which would have secured a future for the threatened Birkdale Library. Instead the Bootle-dominated Cabinet decided, in principle, to allow the building to be taken over by a consortium headed by Sefton CVS.
BLAG Chair, Terry Durrance explained how he and Birkdale councillor Iain Brodie Browne (that's me)had both addressed the Cabinet meeting in an effort to persuade them to accept the BLAG bid. However the Cabinet had turned a deaf ear to their pleas.
Terry Durrance said: “There was a lot of concern expressed by the audience at how little provision there would be for an alternative library under the present Sefton CVS Consortium plan.”
“If Sefton CVS and their partners could adjust their plans to allow a greater area for a continuing, volunteer-run library, then I feel sure that the local community would get behind the plan."
Cllr Brodie Browne told the meeting how he considered it fundamentally unfair Sefton Council to retain three public libraries in Bootle, while leaving
with just one proper library.
Birkdale councillor Simon Shaw explained how the proposal submitted by Sefton CVS only proposed enough shelving for a mere 12% of the books currently on display in Birkdale Library.
“Using part of the Birkdale Library building for Sefton CVS and other charities could make a lot of sense,” commented Cllr Shaw.
“It’s just that, even making allowance for the proposed ‘Internet Café’ which replicates the current computer provision, you still end up with less than a quarter of the current floor area remaining as a library. That is simply too little.”
By an overwhelming margin those present indicated they would be willing to support a takeover of Birkdale Library building by a Sefton CVS-led Consortium but only on the basis of a significantly increased library area.