Help us save library for community

Youngsters using Marsh Green Library
Youngsters using Marsh Green Library

DON’T let us lose our library!

That is the plea from the people of Marsh Green who say it is vital to the local community.

Libraries in the town are under threat of closure following bosses at the Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust being told that they must slash £1.1million from its £4million over the next three years.

The town’s libraries currently employ 180 members of staff and it is believed that as many as six of Wigan’s libraries face the axe.

But locals from the Marsh Green area have been making a stand for the library, saying it is an extremely important part of the community.

One community stalwart reckons that the library has been a life-changer for him and that without it, he wouldn’t have many of the skills he has today were it not for the library.

Dennis Turner, 62, of Hampden Place, Marsh Green, is a keen author and poet and uses the library on a regular basis to use its facilities.

He said: “I come here almost every day, I have also done a computer course and without the use of the facilities here, I don’t think I would have passed.

“Not many people are privileged enough to have computers and internet access at home so they come here. Losing this place would take so much away from the area. So many people come here, it really isn’t just a library – it’s the focal point of our community,”

Although remaining in the bottom performance quarter nationally, Wigan’s library services have been rallying of late.

In 2005 Wigan had one of the very lowest book lending figures per head of population in the UK.

But, with a change in library opening hours to better suit workers, there has ben a 17 per cent increase in the numbers of visitors over the past six years.

Chris Holgate works for a scheme called Families First which helps anyone of a working age to find employment and spoke of the way the library is used.

She said: “The library is a great place for us to meet people and help them. Every time I come in here, it has plenty of people in using the facilities and getting a lot out of it.

“The facilities themselves are fantastic and the set up is very good indeed so it is key point of this community. We use it regularly and get a lot from it.”

Director of health and well being Bernard Walker, who compiled the report, said: “In achieving the proposed £1.1m reduction in budget there will need to be a reduction in the number of libraries as well as consideration of different delivery models.”