An action group has been formed in Cullercoats to fight proposed cuts to the local library’s opening hours.
At a meeting in November, North Tyneside Council’s cabinet discussed its proposals to reduce spending by £16million in 2018/19 and a total of £37million by 2020.
It says this is as a result of a reduction in Government funding of more than £11million and demand and price pressures of nearly £28million over the next two financial years.
The council’s savings proposals include ‘keeping our library service but reducing opening hours at branch libraries and customer first centres, based on current levels of use, to continue to provide services when residents need them’.
But more than 100 Cullercoats residents, under the banner of a group called Friends of Cullercoats Library (FOCL), have now come together with an action plan to oppose any further reduction to its activities.
It includes staging events, organising a petition, involving local businesses, schools, community groups and artists and lobbying the council.
The library is used by a variety of social groups and school pupils in the area.
A spokesman for the action group said: “The library is a vital resource for Cullercoats.
“Both the venue and its exceptional staff are held in high regard by the whole village.
“It is already having to operate on a three-day a week basis due to previous cutbacks and reducing its activities further would be little short of disastrous for the whole community.”
Anyone interested in joining or supporting FOCL can find out more by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
An online consultation gives residents, businesses and groups the chance to submit their views on the budget proposals via the council’s website.
A North Tyneside Council spokesman said: “We have no plans to close any of North Tyneside’s 14 libraries.
“Libraries are a valuable service for our communities and schools and we want to protect the excellent provision we have in North Tyneside. Reducing opening hours means we can keep all 14 libraries open while managing our budget challenges.
“Any reduction in hours will be based on current levels of activity at each library to ensure we continue to provide services when residents need them.”
Access the consultation at my.northtyneside.gov.uk/category/1205/proposed-council-budget-consultation-201819 – the consultation is open until the morning of Wednesday, January 24.