LETTERS: In support of Malcolm Haigh - and our libraries

Batley Library.
Batley Library.

I am writing in support of Malcolm Haigh’s call for the library in Batley to remain a public service operating from its present, splendid, Edwardian premises.

Malcolm’s letter last week highlighted the importance of Batley Library as an educational resource and as one of the few facilities that brings together people from all age groups and walks of life and from all the different sectional interests that exist in the complex weave that is Batley society.

From a purely personal perspective I choose to use Batley Library because it is easy to park nearby, because it has a well run art gallery with an interesting programme of exhibitions and because it offers a pleasant environment in which to browse or in which to pursue one’s own research agendas.

But taking the wider view, the crucial ingredient that makes Batley Library such an important focal point for the local community is the skill and expertise of its staff. To lose this skill and expertise in job cuts or moves to volunteering would be a major blow to the future well-being of local residents, particularly those who, for a variety of reasons, are the more disadvantaged in our society. In dark moments I can’t help but wonder if Kirklees Council’s determination to close or to dumb down library services in Batley and elsewhere is nothing but a surrender to the present Government’s general attack on publicly provided welfare services.

Peter Claydon

Beckett Road, Dewsbury