Children spend World Book Day protesting outside Brackley Library over cuts

Protestors outside Brackley Library over severely reducing its opening hours. Photo by Rachel Page NNL-180203-162023001
Protestors outside Brackley Library over severely reducing its opening hours. Photo by Rachel Page NNL-180203-162023001

Children and adults gathered outside Brackley Library to protest over cuts to the service by the council on World Book Day yesterday (Thursday, March 1).

The kids were meant to be doing crafts to mark the international celebration of reading but instead demonstrated over the reduced hours of the library.

Protestors outside Brackley Library over severely reducing its opening hours. Photo by Rachel Page NNL-180203-161948001

Protestors outside Brackley Library over severely reducing its opening hours. Photo by Rachel Page NNL-180203-161948001

Brackley Library was one of the libraries spared from dramatic cuts by Northamptonshire County Council as it agreed an auditor-approved budget on Wednesday.

But the library is now only open on Tuesdays from 10am to 6pm though, but that may change when the council is allowed to make non-essential spending again.

Stuart Chatterton from Save Brackley Library campaign group said the council has ignored their views despite a petition signed by more than 5,000 people.

“Of course we will carry on fighting. Thousands of people in Brackley told the county council they wanted it to stay open,” he said.

Protestors outside Brackley Library over severely reducing its opening hours. Photo by Rachel Page NNL-180203-161851001

Protestors outside Brackley Library over severely reducing its opening hours. Photo by Rachel Page NNL-180203-161851001

“We were told yesterday our library was safe, later that afternoon opening hours were cut to one day a week, that is virtually the same as closing it.”

Northants county council is restricted on what it can spend after issuing a section 114 notice, and its original budget was deemed inviable by auditors KPMG.

Mr Chatterton said the council should be able to spend money on keeping the library open longer as it would not be a new expenditure.

Brackley resident Andrew Lowe said: “I came into Brackley Library at about 3.40pm yesterday to see the staff standing around the desk speechless.

Protestors outside Brackley Library over severely reducing its opening hours. Photo by Rachel Page NNL-180203-161925001

Protestors outside Brackley Library over severely reducing its opening hours. Photo by Rachel Page NNL-180203-161925001

“One staff member had been preparing children’s crafts for World Book Day and was in tears.”

Libraries in nearby Middleton Cheney and Woodford Halse were closed permanently by the council, with independent groups able to take them on.

Save Brackley Library’s Louise Stubbs added: “I think it’s a betrayal of the staff and voters, that a decision to keep 15 libraries open was immediately followed by cutting seven of those’s hours down to one day a week!

“That’s not a comprehensive service in anyone’s book.”

Protestors outside Brackley Library over severely reducing its opening hours. Photo by Rachel Page NNL-180203-161839001

Protestors outside Brackley Library over severely reducing its opening hours. Photo by Rachel Page NNL-180203-161839001