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Sheffield readathon gives boost to library campaign

Netherthorpe Primary pupils during a 12 hour Readathon at Upperthorpe Library
Hannah, Moheiman and Amy taking part and choosing some bools to read

Netherthorpe Primary pupils during a 12 hour Readathon at Upperthorpe Library Hannah, Moheiman and Amy taking part and choosing some bools to read

Scores of literature lovers, both young and old, turned out to support their local library by taking part in a 12-hour ‘readathon’.

The event took place at Upperthorpe Library, with 100 people taking it in turns to read out loud from more than 50 books.

Pupils from Netherthorpe Primary – who visit the library every week – kicked off the epic read with Roald Dahl’s Matilda.

Children also got the chance to create and decorate miniature books using colourful craft materials.

Davo Smith, from the Friends of Zest group which organised the readathon, said he hoped it would help the campaign to save Upperthorpe Library, which is threatened with closure under cost-cutting measures by Sheffield Council.

He said: “The Readathon demonstrates the ways in which volunteers are able to put on community events to support and enhance the operation of a library

“However, volunteers are no replacement for paid, professional librarians when it comes to providing a full library service.”

The group says users would be unable to reserve books from across the city, as well as losing access to self-service machines, if Upperthorpe became an ‘independent library’ run by the community.

Mr Smith said: “The practicalities of Netherthorpe Primary continuing to visit would be very limited.

“A lot of the children probably don’t have a family tradition of using libraries, so encouraging them is very important.”

Campaigners are fighting to rescue 16 of Sheffield’s libraries, which face closure to save £1.6 million by 2016.

The Friends of Zest recently surveyed 430 local schoolchildren and found 94 per cent disagreed with the council’s plans.

 

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