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North end libraries could be saved

Mayor concerned over 'literary desert' as protesters brand councillors 'Philistines'

Written by . Published on August 15th 2014.

North end libraries could be saved

LIVERPOOL City Council’s cabinet today backed proposals that could pave the way for the closure of 11 of the city’s 18 libraries – though the final chapter has yet to be written.

Mayor Joe Anderson expressed concern over proposals that would see every library in North Liverpool axed.

Liverpool Confidential was the first to point out large areas of Kirkdale and Everton – included in the UK’s most socially deprived areas – would become a literary desert if the proposals went ahead.

The Mayor seems to have agreed with our grim-up-north message, and wants officials to look again at library provision in that part of the city.  He said the proposals, as currently presented, could adversely affect north Liverpool.

A small group of protestors gathered outside the Town Hall calling for the libraries to be spared, joined by campaigners wanting the city to challenge the Government’s spending cuts.

Today’s cabinet decision does not mean the immediate closure of any library. Instead the proposals will be discussed at a special select committee on September 4, and this will be followed by a four week consultation period.

A number of organisations – ranging from community groups, housing associations to health organisations – have already indicated they want to take over library buildings, in many cases retaining a community-led library service.

Those initial expressions of interest will be followed by more intensive negotiations as part of the consultation exercise.

It seems the current list of closures could change over the coming weeks, though with more government spending cuts heading Liverpool’s way, the libraries service has seen its budget slashed by several million pounds.

Protestors at today’s meeting described Mayor Anderson and his cabinet as "Philistines".

A spokesman for Liverpool City Council said: “Today’s meeting was never intended to agree closures, but to pave the way for a full and thorough consultation exercise and that will now take place.”

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6 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

AnonymousAugust 15th 2014.

community led libraries that are multi functional seems a great solution...surely the powers that be need to strongly consider this..a cynic would also say hmmmm lovely buildings them..they could be sold on...whats the secondary plan behind this....lets just use that old #cuts chestnut...or am I just being too cynical?

Emma BAugust 15th 2014.

Although a plan to close any library is wrong in my view, it is incorrect to state above, "...expressed concern over proposals that would see every library in North Liverpool axed." It would NOT. Both Norris Green and Croxteth libraries are to remain open, even if all of the planned closures take place. Come on Larry you can do better than that! I'd expect it of some of the new young journalists from Formby or further afield; but, you did at least work in the city for over 40 years. [Incidentally, Everton library closed over a decade ago. It's always amused me how many academic and student commentators and bloggers who no doubt frequent only Lark Lane and its environs, refer to Vauxhall as North Liverpool, when it's basically town. It's always bemused those of us in West Derby (real North Liverpool.)] Perhaps they're unaware that both L3 and L17 are in the Riverside constituency.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
Katie54August 15th 2014.

Don't be silly. The article is presumably referring to North Liverpool as defined in the following quote from the Liverpool Core Strategy 2012, a council document that is part of the Council's development of a Local Plan. It says this: "Within the Urban Core, recognising the key role of North Liverpool (comprising the wards of Anfield, County, Everton and Kirkdale), which, whilst one of the most deprived areas in the country, together with substantial parts of the wards of Riverside, Princes Park, Picton, Kensington & Fairfield and Tuebrook and Stoneycroft, falling within the 5% most deprived parts of the country, possesses enormous potential for sustainable economic and residential growth". So they are planning on closing almost every single library in "North Liverpool" and many of the others (only Riverside and Princes Park get to keep theirs. i.e almost all of the wards that are among the most deprived 5% in the country. Finally, your "real" North Liverpool isn't actually losing anything, as West Derby library is not in West Derby, it's in Stoneycroft. It's part of West Derby School. It was purpose built to replace two libraries - the grade II listed Carnegie library at Lister Drive, and Larkhill, and is shared with the school, now an academy, of course. Before it even opened, the school managed to grab the top floor, and now will clearly get the ground. Quite why this cannot remain a shared use community library is beyond me.

Emma BAugust 15th 2014.

The Council or a plethora of agencies stating it also, does not make it true. It reminds me of the City Council signs that proclaim "Everton" etc. They appear to have only been put in place so that Cllrs can find their way around their wards whilst leafleting at election time and not stray into a neighbouring ward. They bear little relation to the actual districts. That was my point re North Liverpool - Norris Green and Croxteth libraries are not under threat, contrary to Larry's claim that all are to close in N Lpool.

AnonymousAugust 15th 2014.

Larry, Labour's closure plans were first reported on Public Libraries News. You might find their feed very useful.

MinervaAugust 18th 2014.

When times are hard civilised places protect and nurture their cultural treasures. In war-ravaged Europe devastated cities were re-built as they were before - but not in Britain though, the destruction was completed after the war. You'd think a Labour Mayor would be conscious of some symbolism in the closure of Liverpool's public libraries and the dismissal of their professional staffs. Especially one who took his degree as a mature student. Liverpool is entering a new Dark Age.

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