A Special Village Meeting is taking place on Monday 8th December 2014, 7:30 pm to discuss the Village Library. Village Resident Will Roebuck sets out what he'd like to achieve from the meeting.
In recent weeks there has been a fair amount of criticism, misinformation and concern in the village over the future of Shepley Library and plans to transfer the assets into a community-based organisation. It is essential that any plans over the future of the library must have the ongoing support of the local community. The meeting on 8th December will be the first of several meetings aimed at bringing local residents together in this respect. Active dialogue is also taking place with several key people in the village as part of ongoing discussions and consultation.
I was born in the village, I've known the library building all my life. It has always been a vibrant, living community hub. I want to ensure that this important village asset continues to be so. But it is now under serious threat of closure due to council cutbacks. If no-one seizes the moment today and provides a sustainable business plan to safeguard the library's future, the building will close by 2017, assets will be sold. It's likely that Shepley residents will not see the benefit of any revenues from the sale. Other parts of Kirklees probably will!
So, this Special Village Meeting has been called by three people. Myself, Chris Ballam and Jackie Chatten from the Village Association.
Any initiative to safeguard the future of the library building needs to start somewhere. But these three people need to become many more to help drive the vision and opportunities for the library building as it becomes a smarter, more inclusive community hub for the benefit of us all.
Two key issues
And we have two key issues to address. One that we can influence directly and one which is out of our control.
We can ensure that the library building is given over to the local community and is managed as a sustainable 'business' by increasing footfall and other business opportunities. And we're already in discussions with strategic partners about what we can do to achieve this. We will have some exciting news to share with you at the meeting.
However, we do not have direct control over the outcome of the current council consultation on library and information services across the Kirklees area. But, whatever library and information services are provided up to and after 2017, the Shepley Library building needs to be available and part of any service delivery, if required.
So please come along to Shepley Library next week to hear what we've done so far. We have lots of new ideas which we want to share with you. And find out what you can do to be part of this exciting community initiative.