Future of Heckmondwike Library still uncertain

BORROWED TIME Heckmondwike Library is still at risk.
BORROWED TIME Heckmondwike Library is still at risk.

The future of Heckmondwike Library remains uncertain as Kirklees Council begins its consultation on the service.

The council is looking for volunteers to assist with libraries or community groups to take on the management of individual services.

At a meeting of Friends of Heckmondwike Library, Kirklees Council’s chief librarian, Carol Stump, said help from residents would be necessary as staff make plans to keep the service afloat in the face of their own job losses.

“Like any other service we will have to take a hit,” she said.

Kirklees Council leader David Sheard said the consultation was more interested in saving “services rather than the buildings”.

He said that costly damage to the upper floors of the building meant it was in a difficult position.

But he said the it was an valuable asset for the town that had multiple uses.

“This is all we have in Heckmondwike, that is why I call it a hub,” he said.

An outside company were called in to complete the consultation at a cost of £20,000 from the libraries budget.

Mrs Stump told the meeting that involving the company would produce a more representative and legally sound result, and that asking library staff to consult on their own job losses would be unfair.

She said: “I know it seems like a lot but the alternative is to ask our staff to do it. I think it is worth that money to know we have met all the criteria we need to meet.”

Depending which option funding option the council approves 60 or 100 library jobs throughout Kirklees will be lost.