Librarians protest against the cuts

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LIBRARY bosses are urging residents to join them in a national day of protest against proposed closures.

This Saturday, libraries around the country will be playing host to read-ins, author appearances and story-telling events to protest at the threatened closure of 400 branches nationwide.

The “Carnival of Resistance” is set to take place on Saturday, February 5 from 1pm at the Central Library, in York Road, Hartlepool, and library staff are urging people to show their support.

Elizabeth Jones, the council’s library officer, said: “We are urging borrowers and their families and friends to participate in a ‘read in’ that is being held at Central Library on Saturday.

“We would like the people of Hartlepool to show how much the library means to them on a day of action designed to bring greater attention to the cuts and closures facing many public libraries due to budget cutbacks.”

In Hartlepool, senior council officers have recommended that West View Library, in Miers Avenue, close in order to help bridge a £5.6m deficit in next year’s budget.

Hartlepool Borough Council has to slash more than £20m from its £90m budget over the next four years and cabinet members will meet on Monday to discuss budget proposals.

Councillors have already approved plans to close Foggy Furze Library, in Stockton Road, to save £48,000 as part of the business transformation programme, which aims to streamline services.

Hartlepool currently has the main Central Library plus branch libraries at Owton Manor, Foggy Furze, Seaton Carew, Throston Grange, West View and on the Headland.

A council spokesman said: “The council is facing a massive reduction in government funding which is threatening many frontline services

“Staff affected by the cuts have our full sympathy.”