Arts collection remains open at Balne Lane Library

A national campaign has been launched against the possible closure of the drama and music library at Balne Lane, Wakefield.'w6832a144

A national campaign has been launched against the possible closure of the drama and music library at Balne Lane, Wakefield.'w6832a144

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EXTRA cash has been found to keep a popular music and drama collection at Balne Lane Library open until a new home is found for it.

The collection, which is used by hundreds of drama groups UK-wide, has been under threat since the Yorkshire Libraries and Information (YLI) Council said it was not financially viable and could be closed or broken up.

Part of the collection could be taken over by Leeds City Council after the authority put in a bid to YLI – despite a storm of protest against its break up and calls to keep it in the city.

Now some of the 12 councils which fund the collection have agreed to fund it for up to six months or until a new home is found as YLI considers another bid from an unnamed organisation.

Balne Lane Library itself is due to close on March 31, but the collection will still be available at the building.

Coun Andrew Pinnock, chairman of YLI, said: “We are working very hard to get this right. We don’t want to take a quick decision. If it takes a bit longer to get it right then it’s better that we do that.”

Arts organisations campaigning to keep the service included the National Operatic and Dramatic Association and Making Music, an amateur music body with 3,000 members. Campaigners met YLI bosses in November, when it was agreed they would work together to find a solution.

YLI then wrote to the 12 councils which fund the collection asking for cash to keep it open.

Coun Pinnock said the Leeds City Council bid and a bid from another organisation were under consideration.

A Leeds City Council spokeswoman said: “To help ensure this service is able to continue, we have put in a bid to house the drama collection in Leeds.

“However we are currently waiting for a final agreement which we are expecting shortly.”