“SCAREMONGERING” STIRRER SLATED BY COUNCIL
Claims by The Stirrer that libraries in Birmingham are set to be closed down have been dismissed as “scaremongering” by the City Council. Yet once again, they’ve cast doubt on the story without actually denying it.
The row kicked off with my column in the Birmingham Mail on Thursday, which highlighted the risk to three libraries in the Yardley constituency – at Kents Moat, Glebe Farm and and Sheldon.
That brought forth a critical blast from the Council’s deputy leader Paul Tilsley – which was rebutted on this site yesterday (see link here).
Nor was this their first attempt to put the story to bed. When I wrote the Mail piece, asked the Council for a reply. Here it is in full:
Yardley District Director Adnan Saif said: “There are no proposals to the constituency committee to close any library services in Yardley – absolutely not.
“On the contrary we are talking about improvements to the service, including increased opening hours and increasing outreach to the wider community.
“There are five libraries in Yardley and that is not about to change. We’re looking to invest more in our libraries and more details on the proposals will be available after next week’s committee meeting.”
Note the language; there are no proposals to close any “library services” and the commitment is to maintain five “libraries” in the Yardley area.
But will they be purpose built libraries as the public have come to know and love them? Full staffed and with access to newspapers etc, rather than self-service shelves? We’d very much like to know.
Certainly the latest press release, in which the story is described as both “misleading” and “scaremongering” has the same weasel way with words.
Check it below, and judge for yourself.
In the meantime, I’m sticking by my account that the libraries mentioned in the article are under threat.
- Library reports misleading
Cllr Jim Whorwood has dismissed misleading reports that three libraries in his Yardley constituency have been earmarked for closure as ‘scaremongering’.
Future library provision is one topic for discussion when Yardley Constituency Committee meets next week (March 26) but Cllr Whorwood insists an improved service is on the agenda – not a programme of cuts.
Planned enhancements to the service include:
- Increased opening hours
- New neighbourhood libraries
- The introduction of new technology
- More outreach visits to schools and community venues to attract new users to the library service.
Cllr Whorwood said: “We fully realise the importance of a modern and thriving library service and that’s why we’re looking to improve what is on offer. To suggest otherwise is simply a case of ‘scaremongering’.
“Lending books is just one feature of a 21st century library service and we’re looking to offer greater access to online resources. This is more important than ever in the current economic climate as people search for jobs or training opportunities online.”
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