The “Save St. James Library” Campaign continues and the SJRA committee and residents were out and about on St. James Square on Saturday 8th, raising awareness of the proposed closure. Also supporting the event were local councillors Pam Varnsverry (NBC, Liberal Democrats, St. James), Suresh Patel (County Council, Conservative St. James), Jenny Conroy, (NBC & CC Lib-Dem, St. James) and Roger Conroy (NBC Lib-Dem Spencer).
Nearly three hundred petition signatures were collected on the day, in the space of two hours! This event is viewed as a success by the committee, as many residents were unaware of the proposed closure and were very dismayed, when told. Not everyone who uses the library borrow books however, a lot of people told us they use the library for internet access as they do not have computers at home.
There were many stories told on the day as to how people make use of the library from children who take part in the “reading challenge”, mothers who take toddlers to the “Rhymetimes” to elderly who use the computers or just like to read in the library. What was apparent however was the diversity of users, all ages and different races and religions. The library truly is a place for everyone to use and is a conduit to understanding and communication between different groups. It is also the place where many people have already, and hopefully many more will start their journey of learning and their voyages of discovery.
A vital community asset which if taken away will cost us all much more than money alone well into the future! A short sighted proposal that in the bigger scheme of things cost very little to run in terms of budget savings, and will not make any difference to the deficit reduction!
St. James library is well used, contrary to misleading County Council figures and is cheap to run. From April to June 2010 alone, 4200 items were borrowed, in November alone, 706 people visited! The County Council claims that only 307 people use St. James but what this actual figure means is people who only use St. James exclusively.
What it does not take account of however, is all the users who had to go to another library because of the restrictive opening hours, those who borrowed an item and returned it elsewhere because of personal convenience, those who ordered an item from St. James but had to collect it from another library nor does it account for people who use the library solely for other reasons such as job clubs, Rhymetimes, internet use and other groups and classes.
In 2010 alone, 10000 visitors were recorded through the door of the library!