Love letters bid to halt library cuts

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Wavertree District Library is one of the buildings set for closure. Pic © Wikimedia Creative Commons

Wavertree District Library is one of the buildings set for closure. Pic © Wikimedia Creative Commons

A battle to save 11 Liverpool libraries from closure has taken a new turn in the form of love letters to Mayor Joe Anderson.

Cathy Cassidy and Liverpool-born author Alan Gibbons are urging people of all ages to write and send love letters to Anderson.

The pair want people to tell the Mayor how important the libraries are with the aim of convincing him to change his mind on the closures.

Cassidy told JMU Journalism: “Closing eleven libraries out of eighteen is a massacre which will devastate the city. It will have a very real impact on communities… it is cheaper to keep the libraries open and support those who need it most than to handle the repercussions when communities fall apart and crime rates soar.”

Closing the libraries will save the council around £2.5 million.

“There is a consultation currently going on around the libraries risk of closures and we welcome views and opinions as we know people are passionate about the libraries. We have to save £156m in three years which means difficult decisions,” Liverpool City Council told JMU Journalism.

The love letter campaign has gathered 500 names and attracted a number of high-profile supporters including Frank Cottrell-Boyce, David Nicholls and poet Carol Ann Duffy.  Cathy said the names are not a petition, but a statement of support from Liverpool and the UK.

The council’s recent purchase of the Cunard Building for £15 million from reserve funds through the Invest to Earn scheme has left some questioning why that money hasn’t been used to save libraries.

The council said: “Buying the building will save us £1.3 million a year in accommodation costs and we estimate that we will bring in another £800,000 per year from letting office space. So in total we will be about £2 million a year better off. This income will enable us to offset cuts elsewhere, as it is income that we wouldn’t otherwise have had.”

Cassidy told JMU Journalism: “My goal is solely to keep the eleven threatened libraries open. If that is not possible, I’d like the people of Liverpool to know that we have tried our very best to save them… I could not live with myself if I stood silent while eleven libraries closed. It matters.”

About Olivia Swayne-Atherton, JMU Journalism