Updated: Monday, 22nd October 2018 @ 6:00pm

Barlow Moor Library reprieved; Clayton and Rack House set to close as Manchester City Council defends library service

Barlow Moor Library reprieved; Clayton and Rack House set to close as Manchester City Council defends library service

By Joshua Powling, Senior Political Correspondent

The endurance of Manchester’s library services will be tested over the next year as the City Council defended its record over the past eight years last week.

The latest provisions were agreed upon by the executive on Wednesday with Clayton and Rack House Libraries set to close. Barlow Moor Library will stay open and developed as a community provision.

Councillor Sue Murphy, Deputy Leader of the Council, guaranteed that the socially isolated and vulnerable elderly people would not be adversely affected by any library closures.

She said: “On elderly people we are approaching church groups as location points for social services are crucial, looking at coffee mornings held by the old people’s network.”

Neil MacInnes, head of Library and Information Services in Manchester, said that they were in dialogue with children’s services to mitigate the impact the cuts would take on the most vulnerable.

The report into the changes on library services highlighted the decisions agreed upon by the full council in March, which agreed to make 25% reductions to the budget, savings of nearly £3m.

These savings will contribute to the £110m that the City Council needs to find for this year.

The bright spot is that Barlow Moor remains open until July 2012 because of the current lease agreement, and after that could stay open as a community provision, using a pot of £125,000 of fire insurance money.

East City Library will be run by Manchester College, and it is hoped that Clayton and Rack House will be able to run through the help of volunteers.

Most painful will be the withdrawal of all street stops by the mobile library service.

However the report noted that 42% of customers who use this service also used a static library in the past 12 months. 

Mr MacInnes said that they had received five petitions, two regarding the closure of Rack House and one each concerning Barlow Moor, services at the Longton site and the withdrawal of the homework club.

The consultation drew 3,758 responses.

Vicky Rosin, Strategic Director of Neighbourhood Services, said: “The backdrop is against journey of fantastic support for eight years by the City Council.

“Two-thirds of the estate has been replaced, refurbished or remodelled, and we have five new or refurbished libraries.”

The City Council is bound by the 1964 Public Libraries and Museums Act to provide a “comprehensive and efficient” library service to the City of Manchester.

Sir Richard Leese, Leader of the Council, said: “Manchester has invested very heavily over a long period of time and has still one of the best district library services you will find in the country.”

 He stated that the City Council could use technology to deliver a better service to Manchester despite cuts, comparing it to the switch to the shift from laundrettes to washing machines at home.

Paul Shannon, Liberal Democrat Councillor for the Rusholme Ward, said it was great that the council was tapping into the volunteering spirit of Manchester.

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