BOOKWORMS cleared the shelves of a village library in a fight against plans to close the facility to save cash.
More than 100 residents used their library cards to take out their maximum 20-book quota at Methley Library to protest against a Leeds City Council proposal to axe the community hub and replace it with a mobile service.
June Fender, of Methley and Mickletown Residents’ Association, said: “When we were all done the library was very empty. It was very strange to see all the shelves without any books.
“The number of people who took part in the protest shows the strength of feeling against these plans.
“The library is very important to our village – we don’t have many services as it is – and the thought it could close has sparked anger from people who don’t normally complain.
“People are absolutely incensed. We hope that the people who will make the final decision on whether the library will close will see how valued it is by residents.
“We must fight to keep it open.”
Members of the council’s executive board last year gave the go ahead for consultation on the “continued viability” of 20 libraries which have seen a decline in borrowing and increasing costs.
Methley’s Savile Road library, which is open for 12 hours a week, and Allerton Bywater Library, which is open for ten hours, could be shut – while Kippax Library could have its opening hours extended from 28 a week to 30.
Members of the Friends of Methley Library – who have previously held a sit-in against the proposals – say the facility is “popular” and used by children at nearby Methley Primary School.
Mrs Fender said: “The council has said it would cost £70,000 to get the library up to standard, but we think this figure is ludicrous.
“We are still waiting for a breakdown of how this implausible sum was calculated through an Freedom of Information request – we maintain that this figure would actually build a new library several times bigger than the one we have.
“The proposal to substitute a mobile service has been widely criticised and we feel that the cost of running this would not save enough to justify closure of the present library. “It’s a vital community facility. For some of the older residents it’s a chance to go out, meet friends and speak to the librarian. Residents from the village, young and old, will fight to save this facility.”
Residents are due to meet Kippax and Methley Coun James Lewis and the council’s executive member for leisure, Adam Ogilvie, to discuss the plans in the village on February 12.