CONTROVERSIAL talks are being held to relocate Rubery Library to a church in the village as part of a plan by Worcestershire County Council to ‘save taxpayers money’.
The proposals to move the popular library to St Chad’s Church on New Road have been suggested by Worcestershire Libraries Service in a bid to recoup cash by sharing space with other services and organisations.
Coun Lucy Hodgson, Cabinet Member with Responsibility for Communities, said the existing Rubery Library building required ‘significant investment if it is to continue to provide the best library experience for customers’.
She said saving money by moving location ‘is being achieved in a way which protects services for customers and ensures that local residents continue to have access to a comprehensive library service in their area’.
But the plans have been met with anger from the county’s Labour Leader and Rubery councillor Peter Mcdonald who said libraries should be ‘independent from religion’ and it was ridiculous to move the site which was already ideally situated.
He said: “This is just another attempt by the back door to close the library because numbers will fall as many people will not want to use the church and then the next thing is the county council will say it’s no longer needed.
“No doubt the county council is more interested in selling off the site on which the library stands than it is on providing services in a fit for purpose building for local residents.
“Forcing those of other faiths and of no religion to attend the church for educational purposes is very offensive.
“I have asked the officers concerned to drop the idea immediately.
“At the moment the library is independent of any religious material and surroundings and is ideally situated for local residents and only recently had its opening hours reduced to save monies and make it viable.”
Coun Lucy Hodgson has assured residents the council was considering all options at the moment and a full consultation would take place before any formal proposal to change the location of Rubery Library is put forward.
In the last few years there has been several changes to library services across Bromsgrove district.
In April 2013 the designated building Catshill Library occupied was closed and a new Catshill Community Library was opened in the village’s middle school. Then in November 2015 Bromsgrove Library was relocated to its own building at Parkside, sharing a site with the Council House and other services.
*What do you think? Is it a good idea to relocate the library to St Chad’s Church to ‘protect services’?
Or maybe you feel council officers should come up with another solution? Email us your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org