Councillor ‘gobsmacked’ by response to Mirfield's library plight

Councillor ‘gobsmacked’ by response to Mirfield's library plight

VOLUNTEERS may be needed to help save Mirfield Library from closure, a town councillor warned.

Coun Kath Taylor spoke out after the fate of the Huddersfield Road building was discussed at a meeting last week.

The creation of a Friends of Mirfield Library group was raised as a way to get people involved.

It comes amid plans from Kirklees Council that would shut all libraries except Dewsbury and Huddersfield.

The authority could wield the axe by 2017/18 in an attempt to save £69m over the next three years.

Coun Taylor (Con, Mirfield) said of volunteers: “If Kirklees are adamant about removing funding then we’ll have to go down that route.

“With the best will in the world, Mirfield Town Council can’t afford to take over the building.”

Coun Taylor tested the idea by asking the 40 or so people who attended the Trinity Methodist Church meeting who might be interested in volunteering.

She said: “I like to think there’s plenty of community spirit in Mirfield but even I was gobsmacked by the response.

“About half the people in the room, including two retired librarians, put their hands up to say they’d help.” Coun Taylor added that demand for a library in Mirfield is shown by it being the fifth busiest in Kirklees for books.

Figures show the building costs £33,000 a year to run, including more than £10,000 annually for rates.

There is also an £85,000 bill for staff, who are not qualified librarians but ‘information officers’.

Moving the library elsewhere may help cut costs, but apart from St Paul’s Church, there is unlikely to be a building in Mirfield big enough.

Coun Taylor said: “When asked, people said they want the library to stay where it is.

“It’s in the middle of town, it’s near the shops and there’s a car park behind, making it easier for people to visit.”

Share this post