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There goes a valuable asset of and for the community


In an age where there is criticism that people are glued to their TV sets too much, indulge in playing video games or sit at a computer terminal for seemingly interminable hours, to learn of the fairly widespread closure of libraries in the UK is appalling.      

The axe is falling as town halls – under pressure to reduce budgets by more than a quarter in four years – cut spending on libraries by an average of 7.5 per cent this year. More than 2,100 staff are believed to have lost their jobs and libraries will open for a total of 150,000 fewer hours this year across the country. The extent of the closures immediately prompted a political storm, with Labour accusing the Government of complacency over the threat to the nation's library network. The research, carried out by the website Public Libraries News, calculated that 157 permanent or mobile libraries had been shut or moved to the voluntary sector.

More than 150 libraries have been closed or put into the hands of volunteers in the past year owing to the Government spending squeeze, with a further 225 at risk as councils look for ways of finding savings, according to research released last night.

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