Stoke-on-Trent is the worst affected English cities for library closures
5th April 2016 16:45 - Museums, Libraries and Archives
According to a new national survey by the BBC, Stoke-on-Trent has been one of the worst affected cities in England when it comes to library closures.
The findings of the survey revealed that more than 200 paid jobs have been cut from Stoke-on-Trent’s libraries within the last six years, with more positions being filled by volunteers.
Since 2010, Stoke has lost half of its council-run libraries, with six out of ten being closed down. This figure includes a mobile library van and static libraries in Fenton, Burslem and Trentham.
The county of Staffordshire has also cut four library vans and Cheshire East has scrapped one library, two mobiles and converted one library into a community group.
The users of Stoke’s libraries fear that further funding cuts will eat away at council services, resulting in further facilities being closed down.
However, when looking at it from the point-of-view of volunteers, it is not necessarily a bad thing, with many volunteer-run libraries having sprung up across Stoke, helping to replace the closed down libraries. One example of a volunteer led library is that of Trentham Reads, which is located in a conservatory on the back of Trentham Mews Medical Centre.
Approximately 175 other libraries, which were formerly run by the council, are open today because volunteers saved them.
The problem that Trentham is facing is that following the closure of its library, there aren’t many public buildings left to use.
The survey also found that there are increasing amounts of unpaid workers assisting in the running of existing council libraries.
In the last six years since 2010, there has been a sharp increase (376 to 704) in the amount of volunteers lending a hand in Stoke, Staffordshire and Cheshire East libraries. During the same time, the number of paid library workers has decreased from 800 to 576.
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