Calverley and Farsley ward member, Councillor Amanda Carter, has raised concerns that the newly refurbished Farsley Library has reduced its book selection.
The library closed for three months in January to undergo a refurbishment onto a community hub. Some local residents, although pleased with the result of the works, are now concerned that there has been a reduction in the number of books available at the library, with many areas once lined with shelves now empty sections of wall.
Alongside this, there have been changes in the layout of the library, with sections added and removed and the filing system altered.
Councillor Amanda Carter was pleased to support the refurbishment, but is concerned about the apparent reduction in the range of the book selection. She said:
“I was happy to support the important works earlier this year to refurbish Farsley
library, which is a hub of the community and has offered so many great resources and opportunities for local people.
“However, I share in the concern of my constituents that the book selection appears to have been reduced. It would be a mistake if the very welcome repairs and refurbishment came at the cost of a reduction in the quality of the service. Books are the whole point of a library, so to reduce the number of them, and also the selection, would be simply ridiculous.
“A library without books is of no use to anyone, and these changes risk alienating the local people who love coming to the library to discover new titles and hobbies that would be impossible without a wide selection. I am calling on the Council to ensure that there is no reduction in the number of books at the library, and that the selection also returns to its previous range.
“Many local residents enjoy and rely on the library, and these changes risk turning people away.”
They did this with Pudsey library when it was refurbished and made into a “hub” and a lot of books had to go. It is a shame as a lot of people like to browse to find books they want.
We can still order the ones we want from a phone number the librarians give you and those people are working from home but have access to the books available. This is working well and they send them to Pudsey library (whichever library you want to collect from) and when they arrive the librarians give you a phone call. They are kept in order in brown paper carrier bags.
But some people won’t have access to a computer to find out which books they want to order in the first place. I always look on fantastic fiction to find out which books I want to order from the library.
Councillor Carter might have a point had it not been for the fact that according to research commissioned from the House of Commons Library in 2019 there were nearly 10 million fewer books available to borrow from council libraries than there were when the Conservative government came into power in 2020, mainly due to the impact of austerity measures on local authority budgets. Around 800 libraries have closed altogether.