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Anger at bid to change library
CONCERNED library users have set up a petition opposing plans to install a new sculpture centre that would take up two-thirds of Bury Library.
The petition currently has 70 signatures and calls for the proposals to be withdrawn.
Bury Council unveiled plans for the sculpture centre to be placed in the Bury Library, Museum and Art Gallery complex, which will mean the ground floor layout of the library would be altered.
The development, which is set to open in May 2014, requires a one-off capital investment from Bury Council of £75,000, and has attracted a successful funding bid from Arts Council England of £27,000.
Sue Smith, who has used the library herself for 16 years and has taken her six-year-old daughter Holly from a young age, set up the petition last Friday after hearing about the plans.
The 36-year-old, of Gigg Lane, said: “I have been talking to people in Bury about it and they react in disbelief.
“The council says no services are going to be lost but it has not explained how you fit two-thirds of a library in one-third of a library.
“I think people are annoyed because the council seems to be overlooking its own residents. I can understand that they are trying to find new ways of bringing in money, but I think it would be detrimental to Bury.”
Cllr Jane Lewis, cabinet member for leisure, tourism and culture, said the initiative was a “positive development” for the town.
She said: “Despite huge funding cuts, we have managed to keep all of our libraries open — unlike other councils.
“However, we are having to adapt the library service in the light of changing usage and increasing computerisation, while developing a new tourist attraction and further supporting the local visitor economy.
“I can understand why people are concerned about change, but we hope that residents can see this as a positive development out of difficult circumstances.”
Cllr Lewis also said that due to the increased use of technology, the profile of library use was changing, with more material available online.
She added: “Much reference material is available in all libraries through the internet, so the old model of the central reference library is no longer as necessary as it once was.”
The petition by Sue Smith against the changes can be viewed on the web address www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/say-no-to-the-installation-of-a-sculpture-centre-in-bury-central-library.
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