Express & Star

Campaigners fighting to save village library

Campaigners have hit out at proposals to downgrade a library and bring in volunteers to help run the ‘vital’ service.

Penkridge Library. Credit: Staffordshire County Council

Staffordshire County Council is drawing up plans to make Penkridge Library community-managed – claiming the Grade II listed library is one of the least used services in the county.

But the The Friends of Penkridge Library group is fighting to help save the library in the market town and says the move would mean the ‘burden’ of running it would be left in the hands of volunteers.

The group is rallying the support of people in Penkridge to attend a public meeting at the Haling Dene Centre on March 22 from 7pm. It has enlisted the support of Jeremy Lefroy MP. He said: “Whatever happens it has to and will stay open.

“The best option is to maintain it is as a county-run library. The second best is to make sure it stays open for as many hours as it does at the moment or even more because its a vital community resource.”

This is the second time the fight has been on to save Penkridge Library, after thousands backed a petition forcing Staffordshire County Council to re-consider their plans back in 2014.

The council is currently running a 12-week consultation until April 1. Changes would also affect libraries in Burntwood, Cannock, Codsall, Eccleshall, Lichfield, Penkridge, Perton, Rugeley, Stafford, Stone and Wombourne

A spokesperson for the group said: “Staffordshire County Council are proposing to downgrade our library from a council-managed to a community-managed service, removing our librarians, and putting the burden on the public to volunteer, keep the doors open.”

Gill Heath, Staffordshire County Council’s Cabinet member for communities, said the council will work with the group to ‘find a sustainable way forward.