Library vans hit by cuts

Sue Chambers of the Mobile Library Service on the Mobile Library vehicle at Graham Road, Nether Green.
Sue Chambers of the Mobile Library Service on the Mobile Library vehicle at Graham Road, Nether Green.
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COUNCIL bosses in Sheffield are to axe three out of four library vans and 33 staff as part of a bid to save £1.4 million.

The library service has published plans to abandon a third of stops served by the vans and severely cut back the frequency of visits.

Community libraries are also facing reduced opening hours as the new Labour council grapples with a 15 per cent budget reduction.

New council leader Julie Dore is sitting down with town hall officers to assess the state of the authority’s finances, ahead of an emergency budget in the coming weeks.

But Labour has made no plans in its manifesto to alter the £1.4m libraries cut outlined by the Lib Dems in their budget.

Coun Dore said: “The Lib Dems were not honest when they said £80m of cuts could be achieved painlessly. The budget was set in March so why has the consultation only just started? I will make sure that we protect library services as best we can.”

According to a new timetable published by Sheffield Council, the sole remaining mobile library will visit 100 streets, down from 150.

Many residents enjoyed a weekly service but now only six streets – in Nether Edge, Oughtibridge, Norton, Dore and Crosspool – will retain a weekly visit, on a Saturday.

Most stops will now only have a monthly or fortnightly visit, the van stopping for between 15 and 60 minutes at each street.

Residents have been asked to take part in a consultation but community campaigners labelled the exercise a ‘sham’ because the decision has already been made.

Campaigner Kevin Meagher said: “This so-called consultation is nothing of the sort. It will rob the young of the chance to learn and the elderly and housebound of a recreational lifeline.”

n To have your say and see timetable, visit http://tinyurl.com/Consultation1174.

n NHS centre faces axe: see page 25.