Use library or lose community’s heart

Towcester Evening WI hugging Towcester Library.Eileen Reid,left and Sue Hamilton,right.'120202M-A383
Towcester Evening WI hugging Towcester Library.Eileen Reid,left and Sue Hamilton,right.'120202M-A383

MORE THAN 100 people in the Towcester area have signed a petition calling for the Government to recognise the importance of libraries.

The petition was sent to culture minister Ed Vaizey this week by members of the Towcester Evening WI.

The petition argues that libraries are an essential source of local information and resources and continued: “I want to see the value of libraries recognised and I am calling on the Government to honour both its commitments to act as a champion of the library service and its duty of over sight in ensuring a comprehensive and efficient library service is provided.”

Although it is thought Towcester’s library will avoid the worst consequences of the crack down on public spending, with a brand new library planned for the Moat Lane Development, the petition comes off the back of Northants County Council proposals to cut £1 million from the library service budget.

In December council leader Jim Harker called on volunteers to come forward to help run the service and eight libraries were given a last minute reprieve after last years round of cuts threatened their closure.

Anne Webb, chairman of the Friends of Towcester Library said she was not aware of any suggestion that volunteers would take over paid jobs, but warned the number of library users would be factor in future budget reviews.

Mrs Webb said footfall in libraries is carefully monitored, and although Towcester is safe at the moment, future spending reviews could find the library at risk of closure.

She said: “They do work out how much per person it costs to go into a library, but often people don’t even know their library is there or the facilities it provides, and a few years down the line it will be under the cosh again.”

Mrs Webb added: “As a kitchen is often the heart of a home, a library is often the heart of a community and a stepping stone to so much.”

To promote the campaign the WI have organised a ‘Hugging the Library’ event on Saturday, February 4, between 10am and 12.30pm, which will include a cake stall and refreshemnts.