Palin backs Sheffield libraries

Sheffield-born Monty Python star Michael Palin
Sheffield-born Monty Python star Michael Palin

Proud Sheffielder and national treasure Michael Palin has voiced his support for the campaign to keep Sheffield’s libraries open.

The Monty Python star, who was brought up on Whitworth Road, Ranmoor, said he was ‘saddened’ at the news Sheffield Council is proposing to shut 16 libraries in the city unless volunteers step in to take over their running.

Michael is well-known for being a fervent supporter of the UK’s libraries.

A quote from him which reads, ‘There is no institution I value more in this country than libraries’ sits at the top of the stairs on the first floor of the city centre’s Central Library.

Mr Palin spoke exclusively to The Star as public consultation over the city council’s library review comes to an end today.

He said: “The news is very sad indeed.

“Any library closure anywhere is depriving somebody of a chance to read, learn and enjoy some tranquillity, but I feel particularly disappointed that the city in which I was born should be contemplating such drastic action.

“The Children’s Library in Sheffield played a vital role in my love of books, travel and writing.

“I fear that, once closed, libraries will never be re-opened.”

Proposals to shut Broomhill, Totley, Ecclesfield, Burngreave, Newfield Green, Frecheville, Stannington, Park, Upperthorpe, Southey, Gleadless, Greenhill, Walkley and Woodhouse have been met with a wave of opposition.

Campaign groups have called for them to remain under council control or receive public funding towards upkeep of buildings.

Organisations interested in running some axe-threatened libraries have been given until January 24 to submit a business plan.

Mr Palin said he hoped the community-spirited people of Sheffield could work together to prevent closures.

He added: “If the council can no longer find public money then I hope that the people of Sheffield will rally round their libraries and save them.”