A fairytale end for libraries?

Construction site on Burton Street, Wakefield. New council offices, and will also have the new library as part of the complex.'w4190d103

Construction site on Burton Street, Wakefield. New council offices, and will also have the new library as part of the complex.'w4190d103

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LIBRARIES could be saved from closure by community groups, businesses and parish councils.

Wakefield Council has received 18 offers of interest from people and groups wanting to help run libraries under threat across the city.

Last year a desperate appeal for help was issued by bosses who warned some could be closed in a bid to save cash.

Coun David Dagger, Wakefield Council’s cabinet member with responsibility for the library service, said: “Libraries are an emotive subject. With the present budget constraints, the service will have to take its fare share of the cuts.

“We were quite surprised to get 18 responses from a wide range of parties including faith groups, the private sector and town councils.”

The council is currently locked in negotiations with the groups and businesses which have come forward during its Books For All review.

Those talks are expected to be completed in the next few weeks before a report goes to the council’s cabinet in March.

Coun Dagger added: “At this stage we don’t know if any libraries will have to close because there might be people who want to take on a library.”

Flanshaw Library was closed last year after the council moved book borrowing services to Balne Lane Community Centre.

Since then councillors and community groups have raised concerns that rural libraries, including Middlestown, could be closed to cut costs.

This week work on the new Westgate Library got underway.

It will replace run-down Balne Lane Learning and Local Studies Library and Drury Lane.

The building will be shared with a Wakefield Council customer service centre dealing with general enquiries and is expected to be open by spring or summer 2012.

Coun Dagger said: “We are now looking for feedback on the interior design of the new library and what services you would like us to provide there. Whatever your ideas we want to hear them.”

To contact the council, e-mail cen trallibrary@wakefield.gov.uk or write to Westgate Library Design, Library Headquarters, Balne Lane, Wakefield, WF2 0DQ. For more information, visit www.wakefield.gov.uk