Schoolchildren back campaign to save St James library from closure

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SCHOOLCHILDREN have joined a chorus of voices calling for a Northampton library to be saved from potential closure.

About 60 children from St James CofE Primary School, in Harlestone Road, have written letters to Northamptonshire County Council urging them to keep the community resource open.

The library was earmarked for potential closure by the county council last year along with seven other libraries in the county and two mobile library units, in a bid to save £790,000 following Government cuts.

Julie Barke, headteacher, said: “There is a strong feeling that this library ought to be there in the future, and these young people are our future.

“A lot of people here don’t have the spare cash to go out and buy books or don’t have internet access. I feel very strongly about this and so do the children. We encourage children to have a love of books and the library is fundamental to this.”

In one letter Tanya, aged 10, wrote: “Please don’t close it because if children don’t have a computer or books they can’t research their homework and they can’t buy some books that the library have.

“There are lots of things you can close down but the library is part of our lives. It has been there since I was born.”

Leah, aged 10, said: “If the library is closed the elderly would not be able to borrow books because they will not be able to get to another library due to long distances.”

A petition launched by the St James Residents’ Association has already secured almost 600 signatures and a second protest is set to take place outside the library this Saturday from noon. Campaigners have also received backing from Northampton author Alan Moore who will attend a special reading event at the library on Saturday, February 5.

Graham Croucher, secretary of St James Residents’ Association, said: “We have also received support from the Cobblers and the Saints.

“We are urging people to keep taking out their full allocation of books and to take part in the consultation; write to the council and make your voice heard.”

The county council said if the closure proposal goes ahead, the council will work with all users of the libraries identified to see how the impact can be lessened for them.

The consultation ends on February 8.