History group brings back library petition

Batley library. (D512C430)

Batley library. (D512C430)

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The popular petition aimed at persuading Kirklees councillors not to sell off Batley’s much lauded public library building has been re-launched by Batley History Group in the hope that the library – and its many services – stay intact.

More than 7,000 people signed the petition when it was originally launched last year stressing that the iconic building, given to the town by philanthropist Andrew Carnegie more than 100 years ago, was an outstanding part of Batley town centre and provided services which were crucial to the wellbeing, enrichment and education of people of all ages.

After several months of campaigning which caught the public imagination and support Kirklees councillors decided they would not close the library at that time, a decision which prompted all-round celebrations.

But the library’s future is again in the balance this year after Kirklees Council found it had to find more ways to cut costs. Council members have suggested that one way of reducing costs could be to close some libraries.

Malcolm Haigh, local historian and chairman of Batley History Group, decided to relaunch the Save the Library petition at Monday’s meeting of the History Group with the aim of reminding councillors how strongly Batley people feel about the whole situation.

The filled in petition sheets bearing the 7,000-plus signatures were not officially handed over last year so they provide a strong starting point, as do the 543 signatures on the on-line petition, one of the biggest numbers Kirklees has ever seen.

Malcolm told members that the library was not only a fantastically designed building but was also one which housed numerous important services for the townspeople.

“The councillors must, surely, consider what would happen to that magnificent buildin – sited, as it is, in the centre of an outstanding historical area – should it be closed.”

Anyone can sign at The Flower Shop in Branch Road, the Do-It-Yourself store at the junction of Commercial Street and Well Lane, by calling 01924 479824 or online at epetition.kirklees.public-i.tv.