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Walsall Plans to Close all but Central Library

By October 23, 2016Libraries, News

The library closures and council cuts are getting very real in the UK right now. Just last week we reported that Hay on Wye library was under threat and now we hear that in Walsall, fifteen of the city’s sixteen libraries are under threat.

Each council in the UK is under pressure to cut tens of millions from their budgets before 2019 and many are choosing libraries as the services to cut. This move would save Walsall council a staggering £86 million, but it would mean the loss of every library in the city, with exception of the Central Library.

Earlier this year, Walsall announced that to make the cuts, they had earmarked seven libraries for closure, and these were Beechdale, Blakenall, New Invention, Pleck, Rushall, South Walsall and Walsall Wood. However, local councillors stated that at least three of those libraries had increased visitors last year. This is not a move based on lack of use of the libraries, but rather it seems to be simply a cost cutting exercise with no thought to the library patrons.

Now Walsall council have gone one further and revealed plans to close the fifteen branch libraries in the city, leaving only Central Library in Lichfield Street, Walsall for patrons to visit, a trip that could be many miles for some.

While it’s expected that any closures will be opposed strongly, it doesn’t change the fact that Walsall Council have to raise £86m, similar to the figure given last week by Powys Council regarding Hay on Wye library.

While it’s easy to rage against your local council, these cuts are coming straight from the top as part of a government directive and one of many cuts to public services across the country, having an adverse effect on all sorts of people. While save the library campaigns are popping up everywhere, it doesn’t seem that the powers that be are listening.

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