Friday 23 February 2024
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Protest against Nottingham library closure proposals takes place next week

On Monday 7 March from 1:30pm a protest will take place in Old Market Square, outside the full meeting of Nottingham City Council.

Demonstrators will call for  Nottingham City Council to halt its proposals to close libraries in Basford, Radford-Lenton and Aspley, and furthermore for these services to be more adequately funded.

The protest is being organised by local campaign group Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism!

The proposed cuts are part of a £30 million reduction in funding for council services proposed for the coming year, which would bring the total cuts made by the council to over £300 million in the last decade.

This year’s proposals also include the closure of five out of nine Children’s Centres: Aspley Amesbury Circus, Aspley Minver Crescent, Bilborough, Bulwell and Sneinton.

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One of those planning to attend the protest is Beckett, who said:

“The council has said that it is closing these libraries because not enough people are using them, however these libraries are underfunded and understaffed.

“Radford Lenton and Basford libraries are only open 4 days a week and even then on most days they’re closed by 1 o’clock.

“So, if you work during the day it’s nearly impossible to get there, even for school age children it’s not possible to go after school because it’s already closed.

“This is an attack on working class communities and people who rely on these library services, particularly families with young children, elderly people and people who need to use computers if they don’t have internet at home.

“Libraries are crucially important for refugees who have no recourse to public funds, as applications for asylum must be done online – internet access and computer support is crucial.

As well as libraries being closed, Nottingham City Council is also proposing to increase rent for its tenants by 4.1% – this will affect a quarter of council tenants. With cost of living and energy prices rising sharply, and people having to choose between heating and eating – this rent hike will make it even harder for working class people to live.”

The leader of Nottingham City Council blamed the council’s financial situation for proposals to close three public libraries.

Cllr David Mellen (Lab) said the proposals would ‘clearly’ make people unhappy as they were “the structure of the city.”

Nottingham City Council, which has nearly £1bn of debt, has to save around £38m in the next four years.

Cllr Mellen said a reduction in government grants had also led to difficult decisions needing to be made.

The local authority is proposing to close Basford Library on Vernon Road, the Radford/Lenton Library on Lenton Boulevard and Aspley Library on Nuthall Road.

Aspley Library will close to the public and become what is described as a “distribution point” providing services such as the home library and mobile/outreach services.

It is expected that savings of £233,000 could be made.

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