Last chance to keep local libraries alive

Community group set to take over Havercroft library after the council pulled funding.'Maureen Cummins, Albert Manifield and Faith Heptinstall
Community group set to take over Havercroft library after the council pulled funding.'Maureen Cummins, Albert Manifield and Faith Heptinstall
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TIME is running out for community groups who want to keep their local libraries open.

Nearly half of the district’s libraries were at risk of closing when Wakefield Council announced in July that it was no longer prepared to run them.

Since then the council has been encouraging community groups to apply to take on the running of their local library.

And this week it announced a community-run library at Havercroft will open inside Havercroft and Ryhill Community Learning Centre on Tuesday, November 27.

Plans to transfer Kettlethorpe Library to the Standbridge Lane Community Development Trust are also on track, but a date has yet to be announced.

And villagers in Walton are confident of keeping their library running through a partnership between Walton Primary School and the Friends of Walton Library (FOWL).

But there remain other libraries, including Outwood and Balne Lane, where groups have not come forward with proposals.

They will close at the end of November unless viable plans are submitted by Wednesday next week.

Faith Heptinstall, centre manager at Havercroft and Ryhill Community Learning Centre, said: “We are really looking forward to developing this new facility within the centre and welcoming members, both new and existing to the centre.”

Monica Graham, of the Standbridge Lane Community Development Trust, urged volunteers to come forward to help run Kettlethorpe’s community-run facility.

Walton Primary School headteacher David Dickinson, who has been leading plans to take on the library, said they were “extremely confident” of securing the library’s future.

Karl Grubb, who has campaigned for years against the planned closure of Outwood Library, said: “We’re aggrieved with the decisions but we just don’t have the resources to finance the running of the library.”

Coun David Dagger, cabinet member with responsibility for libraries, said: “I am pleased that suitable community groups are going to be delivering library offers. This will help to modernise library services and provide the public with a service they want.”

Havercroft and Kettlethorpe’s council-libraries will close on Wednesday while transfer arrangements are completed. Changes to the library service will save the council £800,000 a year.