Unions' call for library stance by communities
A UNION boss is calling on communities in Neath Port Talbot to stand up for their local library services ahead of a proposed major overhaul.
Neath Port Talbot Council said there are a number of libraries that are not viable in terms of public usage and of cost effectiveness, size and are no longer fit for purpose.
Following a review the authority proposes to close nine libraries making a total saving of £238,143 — helping the authority balance the books as it faces significant cuts to its budgets.
Unison branch chairman Mark Fisher said these services are the life blood of these vulnerable communities.
"Unison have a national campaign 'love our libraries' use them or lose them," he said.
"The areas concerned need these local libraries and the services they provide.
"We are calling on all the councillors in these effected areas to think long and hard about these damaging proposals to close the life blood of these vulnerable communities.
"We are calling on the local authority to work with the local communities and local community councils or town councils to come up with a alternative to closure."
A consultation is to be carried out to consider the closure of Cwmllynfell, Gwaun-cae- Gurwen, Seven Sisters, Ystalyfera, Blaengwynfi, Briton Ferry, Taibach, Cymmer and Resolven Library.
Community groups and organisations, councillors and interested parties will now be asked to share their views during a consultation exercise.
Library staff and representatives from trade unions will also be consulted in the library service review process and bosses hope to minimise redundancies.
A final report, based upon the consultation, will then be drafted in December.
It is also proposed to change the mobile library from a two week to a three week cycle, so it can cover a wider area to include some of the areas subject to library closures.
Alternative methods and formers of service delivery also include an enhanced home delivery service, relocation of existing libraries, deposit collections, volunteer run libraries, community run libraries and partnership with community councils.