Communities Rally to Preserve Libraries; Youngsters and Adults Join Forces to Fight

Article excerpt

Byline: Joanne Butcher

MORE THAN 1,500 people have signed petitions to save their local libraries.

Residents in Bedlington, Bedlington Station and Seaton Sluice have all put their name to the campaign to keep Northumberland libraries open.

And a group of schoolchildren even penned personal letters begging for the centres to be saved from the chop.

Six libraries were originally earmarked for closure next month - Ashington Hirst, Lynemouth, Kielder, Bedlington Station, Blyth South Beach and Hadston. Libraries in Widdrington, Bellingham, Seaton Sluice, Guide Post, Allendale and Bedlington were also potentially going to be axed if more money needed to be saved.

After a review by the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA), the council agreed to hold off closures until they have assessed the situation and held consultations.

But although all the services will stay open this year, there are no guarantees about the future and campaigners fear cuts are still on the horizon.

Bookworms in Bedlington Station have now gathered a massive 847 signatures to a petition to keep their library open, with another 645 signatures supporting Bedlington Library.

Children at Seaton Sluice Middle School also wrote 13 individual letters to the council's executive member for culture, Isabel Hunter, while youngsters at Seaton Sluice First School designed a giant poster with 94 signatures on it.

The schoolchildren even asked for the opening hours of the village library to be extended so they can make the most out of it in their learning. …

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