Express & Star

Families unite over threat to Wolverhampton libraries

[gallery] Shutting libraries would rip the heart out of close-knit communities across Wolverhampton, residents said today.


Shutting libraries would rip the heart out of close-knit communities across Wolverhampton, residents said today.

Nine libraries and seven community centres in the city face being closed or relocated under plans to merge services to save £1.1million over the next two years.

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Under the plans, libraries, youth centres and community centres would relocate under one roof at venues across the city, with some closed down completely.

Council chiefs insist the plans are about making better use of facilities and not about scrapping services.

Among the libraries under threat is the one in Finchfield, which could be closed and moved to Bradmore Community Centre – almost two miles away – or extended to include community services.

Bill Baugh, of The Spinney, who is in his 80s, has been using the library ever since it was built more than 50 years ago.

He said he would be devastated if it closed. "We feel like we are the poor relation to Wolverhampton," said the retired engineer.

"We have nothing here in Finchfield. There is no community centre and we may no longer have a local library.

"This library is used by children, schools, teenagers, adults and the elderly. It is vital it does not close."

Doreen Luck, 65, who lives in The Dingle, in Finchfield, runs Finchfield Book Club at the library every month.

"It will be a disaster if the library closes," the retired finance adminstrator and grandmother-of-four said.

"It's the only community facility we have in Finchfield. It's a very busy library. People are always coming in and out."

Other mooted changes include moving the Grade II-listed Low Hill Library to the nearby community centre, or remodelling the current building to include a community centre and youth services.

Rose Norwood, 60, from Bushbury, said: "It is the beating heart of our community and it will be ripped away if it closes."

Chris Hordell, 59, from Heath Town, uses Whitmore Reans Library, which faces closuree. He said it would be a "real loss" if it closed. The proposals are due to go before Wolverhampton City Council on Tuesday.

See also - Council chiefs hit back on Wolverhampton libraries

By Laura Blyth

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