Labour members from Aintree and Melling join ‘Save Aintree Villa

 

Aintree Library demonstrators

Labour Party members from Aintree and Melling joined scores of campaigners at a rally to demonstrate against the closure of Aintree Village Library on Tuesday afternoon.

Protesters, including Labour Party members and members of Aintree Village and Melling parish councils, gathered at the library on Altway.

Aintree Library is under threat of closure after the Tory-Lib Dem Government slashed funding to Sefton Council by another £43million over the next two years. Tories and Lib Dems have already slashed Sefton's budget over the past two years by £64.5m, making the total cuts to Sefton Council a huge £107.5m.

The Lib Dems in Sefton suggested the library closure when they were in charge of the council.

At the request of the Liberal Democrats, council officers drew up options on how savings might be made. This included the closure of all but six of the borough's libraries.

 
Aintree Library campaigners
 

People are being encouraged to take part in a Sefton Council consultation on the potential closure. 

 

MP Bill Esterson has backed the campaign to save Aintree Village's Library which he said was a vital service for the people of Aintree and Melling.

 

Bill said: "People have written to me in their droves regarding this issue. They tell me how vital the library is and how they, their friends and community groups from Aintree and Melling rely on the library.

 

"I am delighted that people from both Melling and Aintree are standing shoulder to shoulder to fight to save the library.

 

"It is a fight which I fully support. That is why I have written to Eric Pickles to ask him if the Tory-Lib Dem Government has assessed the impact  on communities of library closures in places like Aintree Village.

 

"I have also requested that extra ring-fenced funding is provided to local authorities specifically for library provision. This cannot be taken from existing funding but must be an additional amount to keep libraries open.

 

"I will continue to lobby Eric Pickles and the Tory-Lib Dem Government for funding for our libraries, and I will continue to support campaigners in Aintree and Crosby to find a way to save their library services."

 

Aintree Library demonstratorsAintree Village Parish chairman Cllr Terry Baldwin said the numbers of people at the rally showed the level of opposition to the closure.

 

Cllr Baldwin said: "This library is the hub of the community not just for Aintree Village, but also for Melling.

 

"It is a place where people meet and where groups get together. For many people it is a lifeline. It is where they can meet friends, where they can attend groups.

 

"Libraries aren't just about giving people books to read. For many it is their social life. It stops lots of people in the community feeling isolated. 

 

"I met a group of older people in the library recently. When I asked them which books they were getting they said they weren't there for the books. They were there to keep warm. Household fuel bills are rocketing. It was freezing. 

 

"That's why we are fighting."

 

Bill Esterson will be joining the Aintree Library campaigners at a public meeting on Friday (November 9) at 7pm at Aintree Community Centre on Oriel Drive.

 

Aintree Library demonstrators