Highlighting the effect of Labour's cuts in Newcastle on National Library Day

February 6, 2016 5:32 PM

National Library Day 2016Liberal Democrat Councillors and supporters gathered today at Gosforth Library to highlight the cuts Labour proposes there and at other libraries across the City of Newcastle.

* Gosforth Library : Close 3 days a week, reduce hours from 60.5 t0 23

* Newburn Library : Hours halved from 35.75 a week to 18.5 , closed 3 days a week

* Outer West Library : Hours down from 54 to 23, closed 3 days a week

* East End Library : Hours down from 58 to 23, closed 3 days a week

* Fenham Library : Hours down from 41.5 to 18.5, closed 3 days a week

* Kenton Library : Hours down from 51.5 to 23, closed 3 days a week

* Walker Library : Hours down from 43 to 23, closed 3 days a week

* West End Library : Hours down from 54 to 23, closed 3 days a week

* City Centre Library : Hours down from 69 to 49, closed on Sundays

* and Civic Centre Customer Service Centre 5 days a week each to lose 1/2 hour.

At the meeting of Newcastle City Council, Cllr Robin Ashby asked a series of questions (below) of Labour's responsible councillor, mainly about Gosforth but equally applicable to most of the closures. He received no sensible response or promise of one, despite much trumpeting about Newcastle's libraries in the media for National Library Day. You can judge Labour on what it says, or what it does....

"I'd like to thank Cllr Stockdale for his report, and refer him to the passages on libraries on pages 70 and 75 and the implications in the light of his future plans.

"His report gives some detail of successes within the Libraries service, for which we congratulate them, but would he agree with me that if the proposed cuts in opening hours go through, there will be neither the quantity nor quality of such successes next year?

"Would he confirm that for instance the reduction in hours from 60 to 23 in Gosforth would mean the Thursday work club for unemployed people with all its benefits would no longer be possible?

"Does he appreciate that at present school children use the library every school day to do their homework, and to have a place of safety after school, but this will not be available if the library isn't open on a Tuesday and Thursday?

"Can he confirm that the draconian reductions proposed will have no effect on the repayment of capital costs associated with this new facility, and that total revenue savings are likely to be less than the employment costs of 2 full time employees?

"Will he accept that the greatly reduced time for access to the computers within the building would significantly reduce digital inclusion in the immediate vicinity of the library without saving any money at all?

"And does he understand that taking credit for improved access for the disabled at the Newburn library while halving the opening hours will be seen as incomprehensible by many of its users of whatever level of ability?"