Time to stop arguing and give us our library back

WHEN I first moved to North Tyneside from the Gateshead area about 1974, I was extremely impressed with the library facilities.

The superb library in North Shields seemed to answer all the locals needs with a great selection of books, records, tapes and a good local history study centre.

It has always been a great facility and kept up to date with the latest books and trends such as computers for everyone to use.

I was therefore shocked to hear in November that it was to temporarily close.

I then became suspicious about the underlying plans when it was announced that the library would be refurbished and part of it would be taken over as yet more council services as – a ‘customer first centre’, whatever that is.

I now understand that the plans have been voted down and the library is staying at the old site in Howard Street.

It was probably a great facility when it opened in 1858 but in 2012 it is totally inadequate for a modern library.

I then reread some of the press reports about what was wrong with the library building and they were listed as:

the roof was leaking – surely it is not beyond the council to fix it;

the lift was not working – sounds like a really serious problem, I don’t think;

The heating system may fail – so might mine but it hasn’t;

The ventilation system no longer works – why has this not been properly maintained over the years?

We are told that the upgrade will cost £2.7m – it would be interesting to know how much the repairs to the existing library would cost excluding the customer first centre.

I have no political agenda as I do not know which parties are responsible for the problems, but it is about time the council got this problem sorted out, stopped arguing amongst themselves and gave us our library back.

BRIAN JOHNSON

North Shields