Campaigners launch petition against four Nottingham library closures

Basford Library
By Joe Locker, Local Democracy Reporter

Campaigners have launched a petition against the closure of four libraries in Nottingham just over a year after successfully helping to save them from the axe.

Nottingham City Council is looking to save £1.5m over the next two years by closing the Basford, Bilborough, Radford-Lenton libraries and the historic Aspley Library, built in 1937.

It launched a 12-week consultation on Tuesday, May 28, asking for the views of communities on the proposals.

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

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.

Save Nottingham Libraries has launched a new campaign and petition against the proposals.

In less than 24 hours the petition received more than 400 signatures.

Wendy Smith, former Lord Mayor of Nottingham and former Labour councillor for Bilborough, will also be supporting the campaign against the closures.

“The areas where these threatened libraries are situated are not affluent areas, and they need libraries even more than most,” the petition says.

“Libraries provide opportunities; these areas need opportunities.

“Nottingham is a UNESCO City of Literature. It needs a strong and splendid library service.

“Losing any more libraries, but particularly these, would be a tragedy.”

The group helped prevent the closure of the Aspley, Basford and Radford-Lenton libraries back in 2023, when they were due to be axed as part of a previous round of cuts.

Campaigner Des Conway previously worked as an NHS Library Manager in Nottingham between 1989 and 2016 and facilitated the Health Information Forum (HiF) which is still going strong today.

“There will undoubtedly be a huge sigh of relief that the nuclear option of closing all but three of the 15 libraries in the city has been shelved, including the threat to the gorgeous Carnegie Library in The Meadows,” he said.

“However, it’s here we go again regarding the proposed closure of the three libraries we thought we had saved after our year-long Save Nottingham Libraries campaign.

“In February 2023, several campaigners gathered outside Loxley House to let off party-poppers celebrating the Executive Board decision to save Aspley, Basford and Radford Libraries. But, just over a year on, these gorgeous historic libraries are once again threatened with closure.

“And, added to the mix of library closures in deprived areas, is the fourth library at Bilborough.”

The council says its consultation will run from May 28 until August 19.

Colin Wilderspin, Interim Director of Communities, said: “The key message is use the 12-week consultation, get involved, use your voice either online or come in person.

“We will listen to you. There’s no predetermination of how we’re going to do this. We do have to make savings and how we do that is down to the consultation and listening to resident voices.”

The petition can be found here: https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/save-nottingham-libraries-2?source=twitter&

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