‘Massive difference’ to space for books after controversial library sculpture centre plan

Bury Library

Bury Library

First published in News Bury Times: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

A 17-year-old student has made an impassioned protest after work on a sculpture centre started in Bury Library.

Austen Lowe, who is studying for his A-levels, says there has been a “massive difference” since work to create the centre began.

He says that the introduction of the sculpture centre, which has involved a re-organisation of the library’s ground floor layout, has created an environment which is not conducive to studying.

Austen, of Cheshire Court, Ramsbottom, frequently uses the library to take out books for his studies and to work there, and has now put his criticisms in a letter to council leader, Cllr Mike Connolly The teenager is studying German, geography and English language at Bacup and Rawtenstall Grammar School, and says the new sculpture centre, which is due to open in May, has had a negative impact.

He said: “There has been a massive difference, two-thirds of the space has gone and we have been left with a tiny room to put all of the books in, which has got to stock the whole central library.

“They have had to put a lot of the books in storage, and some of the French reference books I use are not on the shelves anymore, because there is simply no space.

“Because a lot of the books are in storage, people have to request books rather than being able to look through and choose which one they want, which is the purpose of a library.

“They have created an environment in which I wouldn’t want to study. I can’t work in there because it is too stuffy and cramped.”

Cllr Jane Lewis, cabinet member for leisure, tourism and culture, said that due to funding cuts from central government “drastic changes are therefore unavoidable”.

She said: “The council consulted Bury's residents as to how they would prefer to see these cuts (totalling £810,000) made to the library service.

“To make the necessary cuts, the library space has been reduced, along with staff and resources at Bury Library. We therefore needed to seek a co-location in the space that was to be vacated.

“The stock at Bury Library has been reduced due to the re-organisation of the space with regard to setting up the new sculpture centre and for the implementation of the public self service equipment.

“This has been done via the usual stock management procedure, which means that books which are older, in poor condition, not issuing, etc, are withdrawn but we will also continue to purchase new stock and the inter-library loans service will also be available as usual.”

The sculpture centre has received £75,000 of investment from the council, and a grant of £27,000 from Arts Council England.

Comments (6)

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7:48pm Thu 27 Feb 14

Babbar Divino says...

I suggest Austen stops reading books and reads the Bury Council propaganda. Have he not read how the new sculpture centre is going to put Bury on the international sculpture tourist map and consequently bring in thousands in revenue through lending sculptures, international conferences etc.. London, Paris, New York, Bury?
I suggest Austen stops reading books and reads the Bury Council propaganda. Have he not read how the new sculpture centre is going to put Bury on the international sculpture tourist map and consequently bring in thousands in revenue through lending sculptures, international conferences etc.. London, Paris, New York, Bury? Babbar Divino
  • Score: 12

11:02pm Thu 27 Feb 14

Bury North says...

The people of Bury should be outraged. I find it a little convenient that the councillor found funding for sculptures but could not find funding for the library. Personally I prefer books not sculptures, this in part is what's wrong with society when the people in charge do things like this (trade the fountain of knowledge for utter nonsense.)
Is Bury Council trying to dumb down its population by leaving then with poor access to books and cramped study areas ?
It's a disgrace and I couldn't agree more with you Austen.
The people of Bury should be outraged. I find it a little convenient that the councillor found funding for sculptures but could not find funding for the library. Personally I prefer books not sculptures, this in part is what's wrong with society when the people in charge do things like this (trade the fountain of knowledge for utter nonsense.) Is Bury Council trying to dumb down its population by leaving then with poor access to books and cramped study areas ? It's a disgrace and I couldn't agree more with you Austen. Bury North
  • Score: 12

11:12pm Thu 27 Feb 14

Astronette says...

Well done to Austin for voicing his opinion.

“The council consulted Bury's residents as to how they would prefer to see these cuts (totalling £810,000) made to the library service."

I have seen the library questionnaire and was unable to find the part that said "would you like to lose 2/3 of Bury's main library along with the book stock and have them replaced with a minority interest?"....

Books in storage and inter-library loans is all well & good if you know what you want; difficult to browse.
Well done to Austin for voicing his opinion. “The council consulted Bury's residents as to how they would prefer to see these cuts (totalling £810,000) made to the library service." I have seen the library questionnaire and was unable to find the part that said "would you like to lose 2/3 of Bury's main library along with the book stock and have them replaced with a minority interest?".... Books in storage and inter-library loans is all well & good if you know what you want; difficult to browse. Astronette
  • Score: 11

8:04am Fri 28 Feb 14

Yellow Hackle says...

I do not remember the £75,000 investment being mentioned, if I remember
right ! they said that it would cost the rate payers nothing as the cost would be met by the £27,000 grant for the Arts council.
This is a further case of the council only telling the Townsfolk half the story, now the true picture of the resulting reduction of space in the library is now known to the Townsfolk, are they likely to cancel the project ? I doubt it they will push it through and, ride rough shod over the people like normal !!!!

Thank you Austin for trying.
I do not remember the £75,000 investment being mentioned, if I remember right ! they said that it would cost the rate payers nothing as the cost would be met by the £27,000 grant for the Arts council. This is a further case of the council only telling the Townsfolk half the story, now the true picture of the resulting reduction of space in the library is now known to the Townsfolk, are they likely to cancel the project ? I doubt it they will push it through and, ride rough shod over the people like normal !!!! Thank you Austin for trying. Yellow Hackle
  • Score: 7

9:14pm Fri 28 Feb 14

Babbar Divino says...

Yellow Hackle wrote:
I do not remember the £75,000 investment being mentioned, if I remember
right ! they said that it would cost the rate payers nothing as the cost would be met by the £27,000 grant for the Arts council.
This is a further case of the council only telling the Townsfolk half the story, now the true picture of the resulting reduction of space in the library is now known to the Townsfolk, are they likely to cancel the project ? I doubt it they will push it through and, ride rough shod over the people like normal !!!!

Thank you Austin for trying.
To be honest I do remember a £75,000 one off investment being mentioned along with the other grants however the ROI will be a matter of months with the revenue raised from leasing sculptures.

Yes you are right this project will not be cancelled as the die has been cast. I, for one, can't wait to see the figures of the increased revenue and footfall and will be first in queue for the international conferences the centre is going to bring to the Borough although I'm still trying to work out where they will be held, Rammy Civic Hall?
[quote][p][bold]Yellow Hackle[/bold] wrote: I do not remember the £75,000 investment being mentioned, if I remember right ! they said that it would cost the rate payers nothing as the cost would be met by the £27,000 grant for the Arts council. This is a further case of the council only telling the Townsfolk half the story, now the true picture of the resulting reduction of space in the library is now known to the Townsfolk, are they likely to cancel the project ? I doubt it they will push it through and, ride rough shod over the people like normal !!!! Thank you Austin for trying.[/p][/quote]To be honest I do remember a £75,000 one off investment being mentioned along with the other grants however the ROI will be a matter of months with the revenue raised from leasing sculptures. Yes you are right this project will not be cancelled as the die has been cast. I, for one, can't wait to see the figures of the increased revenue and footfall and will be first in queue for the international conferences the centre is going to bring to the Borough although I'm still trying to work out where they will be held, Rammy Civic Hall? Babbar Divino
  • Score: 3

10:32pm Fri 28 Feb 14

hello sweetie says...

Well done for speaking out Austen, glad you describe it as a loss of 2/3 (the council prefer 'roughly half', more proof they're bad at maths) also glad you called it 'central library', Cllr Connolly denies that description, for some reason it sends him into a rage.
Why does Cllr Lewis keep trotting out the same line about Bury residents being consulted? This specific idea was not mentioned.
I think it's fair to say that the council has acted in an unreasonable way. The spending on this project is completely irrational.
If these people stay in power what will they do next?
Well done for speaking out Austen, glad you describe it as a loss of 2/3 (the council prefer 'roughly half', more proof they're bad at maths) also glad you called it 'central library', Cllr Connolly denies that description, for some reason it sends him into a rage. Why does Cllr Lewis keep trotting out the same line about Bury residents being consulted? This specific idea was not mentioned. I think it's fair to say that the council has acted in an unreasonable way. The spending on this project is completely irrational. If these people stay in power what will they do next? hello sweetie
  • Score: 9

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