People in Denaby have reacted angrily to the news that their library is to be axed despite their hopes being raised by a last minute reprieve.
The final closure was confirmed at a meeting of Doncaster council Cabinet last Wednesday as the axe fell on 14 of Doncaster’s 25 libraries.
It brings to an end months of wrangling between the council and campaigners, who describe the move as another ‘nail in the coffin’ for the village.
Outside the library, pensioner Margaret Bond, 76, told the Times: “It’s disgusting - It’s not just us adults who are losing a valuable amenity, it’s the children. When you go there on an evening it’s full of them doing homework.
Some parents can’t afford a computer at home. They are on about education and they close Denaby Library. How can they educate themselves?
“I use it often myself, but I feel sorry for the children.
“It’s dark nights now and they can’t travel up to Conisbrough and Mexborough - it’s shocking.
Shopkeeper and market-trader Joanne Lewins, 43, was shocked when she heard the news as she thought the library had been given a reprieve. She said her daughters Lisha, 14 and 10-year-old Kaitlyn, use the library almost every day.
She said: “I think it’s absolutely appalling My daughters will be devastated and so will my customers. They have used the library for the past five years and spend hours there.
“They take books out, use the Internet, do research for school, enter competitions and everything there is available to do. The staff there are second to none.
“For some people it’s the only point of contact in Denaby.
“Denaby is like a forgotten area. All the residents who live here will agree. People asked why I opened a shop here but it has a fabulous community spirit. I haven’t worked anywhere like it.
Joanne and partner John Hirst, have collected hundreds of signatures on a petition against the closure.
John added: “We are very passionate about this. I think Doncaster Council needs to look at the infrastructure and put money into places where kids can go where there is a safe environment. The library is the only place.
“They spend money on outdoor places which are ruined by graffiti, drinking and abuse, caused by adults.
“Denaby has got a lot of people who are on benefits and can’t afford to send their children to private dancing classes and things like that.”
It is one of 14 libraries to be axed under plans by the authority to save £784,000 from its budget. While other services are expected to become community-led services, Denaby is to have mobile and outreach provision only.
Protesters who attended the meeting, said they had been silenced and their views had not been listened to amid claims the consultation process had a “distinct lack of transparency”.
Former head of libraries, Gill Johnson, referring to Elected Mayor Peter Davies, said: “It is a scandal that everything can be carried out on the whim of one person.”
Mayor of Doncaster, Peter Davies, said: “I do not pretend that this is an ideal situation, however we are living in the real world where political decisions have to be taken and we need real solutions when it comes to saving money.
“No-one, including me, wants to see libraries closed in Doncaster. Our library proposals mean we can save £1.2 million a year, and it is clear we can now concentrate on implementing further progress to ensure the success and sustainability of having 12 libraries that will still deliver a service to each community, but in a different way.
“In most areas it appears that volunteers have the appetite to keep their libraries open and are keen to get on with the task at hand, compared to a minority of protesters who would rather libraries closed than find other alternatives to the current unaffordable situation.
We are now working hard on negotiations and meeting with volunteers across the borough.
If anyone is interested on learning more about becoming a volunteer in their local community, I’d be delighted to hear from them.”
It was reported to the meeting that public response to questionnaires in Denaby had been just five per cent.
A revised date for the closure has yet to be announced.
Denaby councillor Christine Mills said: “There is no doubt it is a blow and very disappointing for the local community.
“We know there is a promise of an outreach and mobile facilities but it is not the same as having a library where people can go .
“We will continue to fight for a library service. The fight has been on for many months . We have campaigned and lobbied about facilities and this decision won’t stop us continuing to do so.
The library was moved to the Springwell health centre when it was built six years ago and it is understood the council still leases the rooms.