Book lovers celebrate after closure threat facing library is lifted

Monkseaton residents celebrate the success of the campaign to keep the Library open including (left to right-front) Duncan Phin with son William Phin, Fiona Strain with daughter Emily Strain and Alison Allan with sons Barnaby Allan (far right) and Sam Allan.
Monkseaton residents celebrate the success of the campaign to keep the Library open including (left to right-front) Duncan Phin with son William Phin, Fiona Strain with daughter Emily Strain and Alison Allan with sons Barnaby Allan (far right) and Sam Allan.
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CAMPAIGNERS are celebrating after their protests prompted council chiefs to backtrack on plans to shut their library.

Almost 4,500 people signed a petition against plans by North Tyneside Council to close Monkseaton Library, with dozens more residents and children sending letters and e-mails to the authority voicing their objections.

Their campaign has paid off as borough mayor Linda Arkley and her cabinet have now decided to scrap their closure proposals and keep the Woodleigh Road library open.

Rosie Mason, pictured, of Ashbrooke Close, Monkseaton, started the petition and she is delighted by its outcome.

“It was great to see so many people interested and that people felt strongly about the topic,” she said.

“Without the help of the community, local businesses and local shops, this campaign wouldn’t have been successful.

“Everybody got behind it.

“I’m very pleased that the library will stay open.

“The message is that if it’s local, we’ve got to use it, whether its a library, shop, or pub. If we don’t use them in this difficult time, then we will lose them.”

Mrs Arkley and her cabinet made the decision following extensive consultation with residents, including a number of drop-in sessions.

However, plans to close the Coast Road library in North Shields will still be put forward as part of the council’s strategic plan and budget.

Mrs Arkley said: “I can reassure people that Monkseaton Library will not be closing.

“Like all councils, we’ve been faced with some tough decisions to ensure we do the best we can for our communities in a period of radical change for local government.

“It would be wrong not to face the reality of the current financial situation, so there will be more tough decisions ahead.

“However, where we can, we’ll respond to residents’ concerns.

“Through listening to our residents, it’s clear that there is a great enthusiasm for Monkseaton Library.

“I give them my commitment that the library will stay open.

“I would be keen to work with some of the very passionate community groups and individuals about ways they might support us to deliver the service.”

Mrs Arkley added that the proposed £17,000 saving expected to be made by closing the library, open three and a half days a week, will now be found elsewhere.