New chapter for libraries in Derbyshire?
Thursday 12th April 2018 @ 14:14 by Nigel Skinner

High Peak Ruth George is joined by (left to right) Councillors Anthony McKeown, Ed Kelly, Becki Woods and Graham Oakley to launch the petition protesting against cuts to local libraries including Hadfield, Gamesley, Hayfield and Whaley Bridge.

High Peak MP Ruth George has launched a petition to protest at plans to cut Derbyshire library services.  A report to today’s (Thursday)  Derbyshire County Council’s Cabinet meeting recommends handing over four High Peak libraries to community management with a rapidly declining grant.

The MP says that if no groups come forward to take over the libraries, they will close.

Ruth George was joined by other campaigners, including local councillors, on Saturday outside Whaley Bridge, Hayfield and Hadfield libraries which, along with Gamesley Library, are all earmarked for handing over to community groups.

She said: “We had a great response on Saturday – people are clearly very concerned by the prospect of local libraries being handed over to community groups and about the cuts to library opening hours.

“Whether it’s the regular trip to swap books or to use a computer, libraries are a godsend to many people.

“They provide access to books, local information, computers and the internet, which are vital for many services – Gamesley Library has some of the highest computer use in the county.”

The MP added: “From September, Universal Credit will come to High Peak and thousands of people on low incomes will have to claim online over the next few years, this will affect those least well off the most.

“Council funding and trained librarians are essential to guarantee our library service.”

The council report proposes handing over 20 libraries across Derbyshire to community groups, along with changes to the mobile library service and wider reaching plans for ‘smart’ libraries which could lead to further staff reductions in the future.

New times proposed to begin in January 2019, could see Glossop and Buxton Libraries ‘losing’ seven hours a week by opening at 9.30am instead of 9am and closing at 5pm rather than 7pm on Wednesdays and Fridays.

Chapel is earmarked to close at noon on Wednesdays, but will no longer shut 1pm to 2pm on other weekdays, losing three hours. New Mills faces a six hours a week reduction by closing at noon on Tuesdays.

Hadfield, possibly facing community managements, would still open 17.5 hours a week, Hayfield remaining at 14.5 hours.

Gamesley could lose 30 minutes. Whaley Bridge 5.5 hours