‘Absolutely possible’ to save four Nottingham libraries from closure, campaigners say

Historic Aspley Library could close its doors to the public under council plans to save money
By Joe Locker, Local Democracy Reporter

A campaign to save four Nottingham libraries is re-launching after the council announced new plans to close them to save money.

Nottingham City Council launched a 12-week consultation on Tuesday, May 28, outlining plans to close the Basford, Bilborough, Radford-Lenton libraries and the historic Aspley Library, built in 1937.

The Labour-run council, which declared itself effectively bankrupt in November, is looking to save £1.5m over the next two years.

On top of cutting its libraries from 15 to 11, the proposals also outline staff cuts, a reduction in opening hours and slashing the budget for books, IT and operations.

Opening hours at the Central Library could be reduced just six months after it opened, reducing from 9am to 6pm to 10am to 5.30pm, alongside reductions at the yet-to-open Sherwood Library.

Campaign group Save Nottingham Libraries helped prevent the closure of the Aspley, Basford and Radford-Lenton libraries back in 2023, when they were due to be put to the axe as part of a previous round of cuts.

Aspley Library’s foundation stone (Des Conway)

Sian Steans, community organiser for the campaign and user of the Radford-Lenton Library, told the Local Democracy Reporting Service the campaign would be relaunching.

“It is absolutely possible to stop them,” she said.

“It is really important that people who care about communities and community resources recognise we have a strong track record in this country and we can draw on that strong radical history.

“It is a tax on working class communities. The talents, the energy and the skills of the working class communities are already stretched. On top of all that we are using our resources to fight for the basics.

“It was a long-fought campaign before. Save Nottingham Libraries will return. The petition will be launching this week.”

Ms Steans said she wanted to encourage people to sign up to use their local libraries, emphasising they now offer an abundance of services including workshops and e-books.

“We are asking people to follow our socials and keep an eye out for our petition and, more than anything, use your local library,” she added.

“A lot of people do not see the value of libraries because they have not used them since they were a child.”

The council says under its proposals only 10 libraries will be open five days a week, but 11 will remain open in total.

The consultation will run from May 28 until August 19, and there will be three events for people to attend to have their say.

Save Nottingham Libraries campaigners outside Loxley House

Colin Wilderspin, Interim Director of Communities, said: “Reshaping our library services and saving £1.5m is a daunting and challenging task, one that demands not just belt-tightening, but a re-imagining of how library services are delivered to the residents of Nottingham.

“Regrettably this does mean the need to consider the closure of some libraries, which I know will be disappointing to users of the library services.

“We have a legal duty to provide a comprehensive and efficient library service for all those who live, work or study in the city. We want to invite residents and partners to contribute to our consultation.

“If you believe you have an alternative plan for delivering efficient, comprehensive library services within our budget constraint, then we want to hear from you, we want your ideas and opinions.

“I would reiterate that NO decisions have been made, and your input from this consultation will play a pivotal role in shaping the future of Nottingham’s libraries.”

(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)