MPs back Wakefield’s drama 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

A MOTION has been tabled in parliament calling on the culture secretary to protect a popular music and drama library in Wakefield.

MPs in the Midlands, where 80 amateur orchestras and drama groups use the collection at Balne Lane Library, tabled the Early Day Motion last week.

Seven MPs have signed the motion, which urges culture secretary Jeremy Hunt to do all he can to prevent the collection, which provides subsidies loans of scripts and musical scores to hundreds of drama groups UK-wide, from being sold off or broken up.

The announcement that the The Yorkshire Libraries and Information (YLI) Council had decided the collection was not sustainable in its current form sparked a storm or protest three weeks ago.

The early day motion said the library was the only archive of its kind in the region. It reads: “Closure will mean dispersal and/or privatisation of a hugely rich and valuable resource housing over 500,000 musical items, in addition to information and drama scripts.”

The library, run by a group of 12 councils including Wakefield, has been held for decades at Balne Lane Library, which is itself set to close next year. At that point a new home will be needed for the collection.

UK arts organisations campaigning to keep the service include the National Operatic and Dramatic Association and Making Music, an amateur music body with 3,000 members.

Campaigners held a meeting with libraries bosses on November 3, when it was agreed they would work together to find a way of keeping the collection open. Another meeting is expected to be held next month.

YLI said it was committed to saving the library and is invited expressions of interest from organisations on how to keep the service open after April 2012.