Thursday, 13 January 2011

A new chapter?

Walking in my local library yesterday, I was impressed by the huge banner, all pink and full of promises, A New Chapter.

Looking at it, you'd think that things couldn't be better where library provision in the city is concerned: there is mention of 2,000 extra library hours, 100,000 extra computer hours, "tailored" mobile services and £1million to be spent on books.

And there is a consultation going, and an equally pink leaflet to complete to give your comments.

The questions are to do with further opening hours ( how many more hours would you like Compton Road library to be open for? Is Monday 9 to 7 good for you or would you like to offer another suggestion?), and with proposed locations for mobile libraries in the area.

Funny how, library CLOSURES are carefully hidden in the document. When I first looked, I couldn't find anything about Richmond Hill library. And I wasn't the only one. The librarian couldn't find anything on our library on the leaflet either!

So I asked for further information, and surprisingly (?) there wasn't any.
I did find the executive report on line, in the LCC website.

And I did find the mention of closures in the "consultation" document: it's on the very top of the second page, literally in small print and it says:

The costs and level of use brings the viability of Richmond Hill, Osmonthorpe and Swarcliffe Libraries into question. We 'd like your views on the proposals bellow.

Ultimately, the "views" asked, are about possible locations for mobile libraries which "could" visit the area, as it is very subtly mentioned ( and that, according to my poor English, means that there is a possibility that they mightn't.)

So please, find some time to visit the library and fill in the questionnaire.
Or you can do it on-line at:

Residents in East End Park and Richmond Hill are used to living in a desert of public services provision: there is no sports' centre, no baths, and soon there will be no library. This is, according to the executive report because our library is underused. It is worth mentioning though, that Richmond Hill library only opens from 10 to 5 two days a week and half a day on Wednesday from 2 to 5, which means that it's no use to those who work or go to college. Still, it is used by the local primary school, by mothers and children, by old people, and by youths after school, if only for a brief period of time.

For me the library is very special: as a mother of small children in the area, it was my first port of call for information, books, printing, computers and more importantly as a place to go, to get out of the house and see other people, to teach the kids to appreciate the value of books and learning.

I know that the new mantra is that "we should all make sacrifices" (although apparently some of us will have to sacrifice more than others) but I also believe that some things, you can't put a price on.

Taking that very valuable service away from us, is bound to backfire:
We live in a poor area, where services are absent, internet use limited and with very little for young people to do.

I would like to paraphrase and old Greek saying for this instance that goes: where a school closes, a prison opens.

I would like to say: if a library closes, s**t happens..


  1. Well said, the people of this area, particularly East End Park, seem to have been airbrushed from the map of Leeds and do not seem to count at all when if comes to handing out resources and as money gets tighter it will only get worse.

    We NEED decent accessible library facilities more than the leafy suburbs, for us they are not a luxury but a lifeline. However when this 'consultation' is over we will have lost out ONCE AGAIN and the extra money and facilities will go to areas already more than well provided for.

    We need to start standing up for our area and our childrens' future.

  2. Where is this the library at Richmond HIll ? I live there and have seen so sign, posters of its opening times or such. Sadly as the above comment says Richmond Hill has few facilities and will have even less under this ridiculous government.

  3. Richmond Hill library is situated behind the old York Libary on York Road , or next to All Saints primary school. It's a small library, but still well used by the school children, stay at home parents and the elderly. And in any case, the fact that maybe some local people are less inclined to be avid library users that those in more affluent areas, this should not mean that they don't need a local library- on the contrary: it should mean that the council should try and do more to convince them to use the library more.

  4. I had the same problem with the questionnaire relating to my own area - 2 libraries are due to be closed (Whinmoor and Swarcliffe) but you'd never know from reading the information. I added my own opinion at the end since they didn't allow me to voice it anywhere else!