Protestors rally in Nottingham against proposed library cuts

Book lovers of Nottingham gathered at Old Market Square to protest against the Labour-led Nottingham City Council’s proposed move to shut three libraries.

The lunchtime protest was organised by local campaign group Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! and started with almost 25 demonstrators before gaining momentum later.

One slogan stated: ‘We don’t want your crocodile tears, save our libraries now’.

Organisers also collected signatures from the public against the council’s proposal.

Josh Murphey, one of the organisers, said: “This is a move that damage and hurt the lives of disadvantaged people.

“This strike is not just about the council move, but also to create an awareness in people on the council orchestrating such moves.”

The group also raised their flag at the left lion.

Stewart Halforty, one of the activists, said that this is the first among the three movements planned, with a sitting protest at the Aspley and Basford libraries in the coming weeks.

Many local residents joined in Monday’s protest too.

Shelagh Hubbard, a retired English teacher from Sherwood said that: “A library is a basic need.

“A lot of old people go there, people who don’t have access to internet go there.

“These libraries are at the most underprivileged part of Nottingham.”

Previously, an online petition against the proposal gathered around 2000 signatures.

The cuts were put forward as the City Council tries to make £28m of savings in its 2022/23 budget.

The city’s main Central Library is closed because its Broad Marsh replacement is not finished.

Under the proposals, the council would close Basford Library in Vernon Road, the Radford Lenton Library in Lenton Boulevard and Aspley Library in Nuthall Road.

While Aspley Library would close to the public, it would become what has been described as a ‘distribution point’, providing services such as a home library and mobile outreach services.

People who regularly use Basford Library have previously spoken of the importance in keeping it open.

In total there are 15 public libraries, 11 of which are in the community and three in service centres.

The central library in Angel Row closed in 2020, the books from which remain in storage while a new central library is built.

It is hoped the new central library, on the Greater Broad Marsh site, will be fitted out “very soon”.

According to council figures the three libraries proposed for closure had some of the lowest visitor numbers of the estate.

There were 22,680 annual visits to Basford Library, 7,920 visits at the Radford and Lenton library and 38,820 visits in Aspley.


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