Monday, 18 November 2013

Books Are For Everyone ~ Save Bury Library

Whoever said young people don't have that political spark any more hasn't met mine, and nor have they met a young lady who emailed me last week and has persistently emailed me since.

I get emails from strangers all of the time, but last week I got one that was a bit different. I was emailed by a young lady from Bury who asked me to help her raise awareness of Bury Council's plans regarding their library.

Bury Library first opened it's doors in 1901, and is housed in a magnificent old building right in the centre of town. This is a great location and that's probably why the Council have decided to alter the use of around two thirds of the library to house sculptures.

5 of our children in 2009 on the 'Mousetrap' at Burrs Park, Bury ~ Part of the Irwell Sculpture Trail

The brilliant Irwell Sculpture Trail starts in Bacup, passes through Bury and ends in Salford Quays and features over 70 different sculptures from some amazing artists. Bury Council want to try and bring more tourism into Bury Town Centre by creating a Sculpture Gallery which will be part of the trail. The place they've chosen to create the Sculpture Gallery is within the library. In order to do this they need to squeeze the current library into around one third of the space, strengthen the floor and move in the sculptures.

It doesn't take a genius to work out that this will have a detrimental effect on individuals and groups who use the library. You simply can't store the same amount of books and other materials in one third of the space, Children's story time is going to be a far more cramped affair and all of the library users will lose a lot of the somewhat limited space that they already have. People will also lose their jobs.

I'm a big fan of libraries, I don't take my children anything like as often as I should, but that's because I'm able to use the internet and computers at home. We use the school library to borrow story books and do our research online. That puts me in a fortunate position, I don't need the library at the moment, but plenty of people do.


Libraries don't only offer books, they have CD's, DVD's, maps and all manner of documents. They have local council and tourist information. They have free access to computers and the internet. They're really important if we want to ensure that every member of our community has equal chance to achieve their potential. They're about inclusion for some of the most deprived members of our society.

I have 1 child at University and 2 about to go to College. They need libraries, and if they choose a college some distance away then it'll be far easier to go and collect books at a local library. Parents with children who don't have a school library need the town library. Any adult who wants to read books benefits from a library. Lets be honest, a lot of older people rely heavily on libraries not only for the actual books, but also for the reason to go out and the company and interaction it offers. There is a very successful Knit And Natter group who meet once a week at the library, without available space they'll have to meet elsewhere. Libraries are for everyone.
 
Sculpture is great, but rather than spending £100,000 installing it into the library and placing tourism over local people, can't they just put it in the library garden or the existing Art Museum?

A lot of people feel very strongly about this -

The young woman who spoke to me has started a website with updates and information - Save Bury Library
There is a Facebook community
There is a Petition to Mike Connolly of Bury Council - If they get 300 signatures then it has to be debated.

And there will be a peaceful protest outside Bury Library at 11am next Saturday 23rd November.




24 comments:

  1. Spot on Jenny, we don't need the library either but Bud goes to the one at the end of our street with his Grandma so he has books at her house. I was an ever present in my local library as a child. In the Summer holidays I'd sometimes read all of my books in one day and be back the next to get more. They are important, this is an insane idea.

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    1. Cheers Pippa! Thank you for the support :)

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  2. Our library was almost closed down a few years ago, I'm so glad it wasn't because we're always there. Books are so important to children, and if the borrowing is removed then the love will be harder to come by for a lot of children.

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    1. Absolutely. As a child I'd never have had access to 1/50th of the books I read without the town library. It really made me feel special going and choosing a new book, and gave me a real love for reading :)

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  3. Libraries are so important. Even though we have loads of books at home, Ethan still loves to go and the story time they have is great. I hope it doesn't get closed down :(

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    1. Totally. You can never have too many books, so borrowing them is a brilliant way to top up what you have at home :)

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  4. Signed and posted on FB to hopefully get more support. xxxx

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  5. I love my local library! I hope the support will do good!

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  6. I've signed and shared - Bury Council are run by a load of bloody arseholes who couldn't wipe their own noses without some minion doing it for them. The hierarchy really needs to be addressed - maybe they could save money that way in order to look into arranging somewhere else for these sculptures to be located. I cannot imagine an artist would be impressed deep down at the fact that the library will be reduced by 2/3rds - shame on the council. MAYBE they shouldn't have sold The Lowry painting a couple of years ago... THAT would have brought more tourism to the borough!!!!!!!!!!

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    1. Excellent point - it really is a tragic loss that they sold that. You never get it back...

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  7. Hello everyone my name is Sue Smith and the young person in question alerted me to this blog. I am the person who started the petition at change.org, FB Page & Twitter Feed. I am also organising the protest on Saturday 23rd November. Our young campaigner has done an awesome job, so I would like to say thanks to her!

    I also wanted to say that the amount of signatures needed for a debate is 2,500. We are hovering just under the 2,000 mark!! This Saturday will give people a chance to come out and support this much loved and much used library. 2/3 of the floor space & 2/3 of the stock set to vanish at a cost of £75,000 (est) plus Art's Council funding of £27,000. We feel like this sculpture centre is not for the people of Bury and is being done with a view to attract 'visitor pounds'.

    Bury is already a tourist town and doesn't require sculptures. Bury deserves to have a flagship library. We need our library and it's wonderful services and so do our children.

    We are not against sculptures or the arts but are unhappy with Bury Council gambling away 2/3 of our lending library.

    There are petitions out in the Bury community including Bury Central Library.
    If anyone would like any more details email: saveburylibrary@outlook.com or checkout the FB page or Twitter feed @saveburylibrary

    Thank you for your support!!!
    Sue

    Sue Smith

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    1. You're welcome - and thank you for your work to try and save this for our children's future. Cheers for putting me right on the signatures, and best of luck getting the remaining 500 - I've no doubt you'll manage it. Thank you for commenting!

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  8. What total madness. I really value libraries. We visit our's at least every 3 weeks. We have loads of books at home and the internet, but going to the library has been part of Monkey's rountine since he was tiny. He loves it, we read books there and he picks books to bring home. Sometimes we play on the computer there. I have elder relatives who don't own computers but will go to their libraries and use the internet there. They are a vital resource for the community at large. I hope you win your fight.

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  9. This is utter madness. I really can't get my head around it at all. I've signed the petition, Facebooked and tweeted about it. I'd join the protest on Saturday but I will be away.

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    1. I'm also away on Saturday, we're doing our bit now! Cheers for your support Heather :)

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  10. Just going to sign, I don't understand the logic of this! Hope you are all successful in your campaign

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  11. Hope I am not too late to the party! I have signed the petition, I may not be local, but I know how important library space is for children and parents!

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  12. As a Mancunian living in Yorkshire I recently visited Bury and decided to look to see if it had a library; I can only say I spent a lovely hour in a really good library and as I left I said to my partner that I hoped it remained just as it was. I did not know at the time of the councils plans and it saddens me.
    I witnessed a lovely encounter where an elderly man walked in and as a member of staff if she could tell him the meaning of a word meant that he had come across. Together they looked it up and he left smiling.
    In the grand scheme of things we have to put more importance on libraries and what they offer. I suppport you Bury library and wish you success.

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