‘State of art’ shocker at a time of cutbacks

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GIVEN Calderdale’s decision to axe its book buying budget for all libraries in the area, it’s shocking and puzzling to read of plans for a “state of the art” library in Halifax.

Under normal circumstances a new library would be an exciting prospect. However, given the cutbacks libraries such as ours in Todmorden, are facing, how can this project be justified?

Firstly, what’s the point of a new library with no new books or resources to put in it? Secondly, surely the rationale behind libraries is to provide access to books – not just classics, but the very latest publications. Any money available should be put into buying reading resources.

Why should a town like Todmorden, where the library is so much at the heart of our community, have to do without new books when money is being ploughed into an unnecessary new building?

Our library provides a vibrant, communal space where people without the fares to travel into Halifax can – and do - access the resources they need. For example:

l if you’re studying in Todmorden, you need easy access to new books and resources your teachers or trainers recommend

l if you’re living on benefits and looking for a job, you need newspaper, periodicals, company directories and skills development publications

l if you’re a child in Todmorden, it’s important to have access to the latest Jacqueline Wilson or Michael Morpurgo, before your attention is diverted away from books forever

l if you’re a senior citizen then you deserve to read the newspapers and the latest books, you probably can’t afford on a pension

Central Library in Halifax is less than 30-years-old.

Surely at this time of cutbacks it would be better to focus on consolidating and developing existing libraries? Libraries should be living, contemporary resources for everyone - no matter where they live in Calderdale.

Steph Booth

Chair, Friends of Todmorden Library