2,000 speak up over plans to reduce library services

ABOUT 2,000 people have commented on plans to reduce Calderdale library services.

Councillors intend to save £150,000 a year and are considering reducing opening hours at district libraries.

Meanwhile, plans have been announced to build a replacement for Halifax Central Library beside the Piece Hall.

A survey has shown £6 million needs spending on the building at Northgate and it could be demolished, along with neighbouring Northgate House, to make way for new shops.

The library facilities consultation is now closed and results will be published later this month.

Decisions about future provision will be made at Calderdale Council’s Cabinet meeting on December 12.

During the last five years, the council has improved libraries at Brighouse and Hebden Bridge, built new libraries at Shelf and King Cross and refurbished several others.

Investment this year has included new self-service technologies and there have been reductions in expenditure,

Vacancies in management and supervisory posts have been not been filled.

The library review included the Halifax Central Library, plus 22 static libraries and two mobile ones.

The council’s communities committee has considered putting libraries into Post Offices, selling stationery and running coffee shops to help make them more viable.

Forty volunteers already support Calderdale library staff and numbers could be extended.

Reducing opening hours from 45 to 37 a week at main libraries in Brighouse, Elland, Hebden Bridge, King Cross, Sowerby Bridge and Todmorden, could save £20,000 a year.

The communities panel has recommended that no libraries should close as a result of the review.