Friends aim to overcome library service cuts

BOOK BID ... librarian Catrin Galt leading a book day for youngsters at South Shields Library.
BOOK BID ... librarian Catrin Galt leading a book day for youngsters at South Shields Library.

A RALLYING call has gone out for volunteers to book a place in support of South Tyneside’s under-pressure library service.

Help is needed to stage fundraising efforts to support book readings, workshops, craft sessions and other community events.

Council bosses have pledged that despite spending restrictions, no borough library is to close, but there are plans to reduce opening hours.

And although the Friends of South Tyneside Libraries is already a well-supported group, a new appeal has been launched to bolster its numbers still further.

The Friends’ mission is to support the objectives and interests of libraries, so they might better serve the needs of the public.

With Government and local budget cuts looming large for the coming years, the Friends believe they will be called upon more than ever to support libraries and the services they provide.

Keith Bardwell, the secretary of the Friends of South Tyneside Libraries, said: “Spending cuts are affecting libraries up and down the country.

“Our libraries in South Tyneside are well used services, and this is recognised by our councillors, but efficiency measures have to be made and this year we hope these will only result in reduced opening hours with no closures.

“People have to act now to show their support for libraries in the borough and the invaluable service they provide, by joining the Friends.

“Activities may include fundraising by helping with social events such as author visits and book sales, as well as helping with publicity and tickets sales and looking after guests.”

Anyone interested in becoming a Friend can call in at the group’s annual general meeting at South Shields Central Library from 1pm on Saturday.

It will be followed by talk at 2pm by Dave Bell entitled Ireland in Song.

Libraries offer papers, magazines, books to read, audio books, e-books (after April 23) to borrow and read at home, study areas with tables, computer access to Office software, movie screenings, DVDs to borrow, internet access for e-mail and social networking, computer help sessions by trained staff and special sessions for under-fives to foster a love of books and reading.

Twitter: @shieldsgazette