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Lib Dems call on council to suspend book sales in face of potential library closures

January 28, 2013 9:43 PM
Ahead of National Libraries Day on February 9th, Opposition Lib Dem councillors have called upon Newcastle City Council to reconsider plans to sell off thousands of the city's library books as an "income generating measure", after it emerged that in addition to old and obsolete stock, brand new best-sellers are on offer priced at just 50p or £1 in sales at libraries across the city.
Dene ward Cllr Bob Renton has taken up the issue with city libraries bosses after High Heaton library users discovered that a number of books on sale were sought-after copies which in some cases were still subject to borrowing requests. The news comes as up to 10 branch libraries are set for closure by the council's programme of budget cuts, and the council is also set to cut annual funding set aside for the purchase of new books. Lib Dem councillors are also concerned about loss of stock of DVD and Blue-Ray items due to theft from the City Library.
Lib Dem councillors and libraries campaigners are calling for further sales to be suspended ahead of possible closures to avoid depleting the stock of branch libraries which could be saved. However, library chiefs have indicated that sales will continue in a bid to hit a £15,000 target for income generation.
Cllr Renton said "I am supporting local residents and library users who are fighting to save High Heaton library from the axe, and am backing efforts to set up a community-run library if the council closes the building. However, the viability of community-run libraries here or elsewhere in the city is being put at risk if the council libraries services is engaged in a mass sell-off of stock. Sales of old and rarely used volumes may be appropriate but it cannot be right that the library service is flogging off popular books bought for £20 just a year or two ago for small change. These sales should be halted to allow community-run libraries to maintain a reasonable stock of books for borrowing."