Sheffield Council have teamed up with Voluntary Action Sheffield, community organisations, faith groups and businesses to open up libraries, community centres and other buildings to provide warm spaces for people during the day. The aim is to offer a place to drop in and have a hot drink, meet other people and take part in activities during the day without having the cost of putting on home heating. Sheffield Live! reporter Baillor Jalloh spoke to Councillor Mazher Iqbal.
A crowdfunding campaign launched in the name of the threatened Vernon Oak is set to distribute the children’s book The Lost Words to Sheffield schools and libraries. The book of spells and spelling looks at words from nature that are falling out of use and seeks to give them new life through writing and illustrations. Baillor Jalloh reports for Sheffield Live!
As library with longest opening hours in the city is set to close, the Friends of Zest group are holding an open meeting this Saturday, 7 December
Upperthorpe Library by Philippa Willitts, used under Creative Commons License
The Friends of Zest Group is holding a public meeting with Cllr Mazher Iqbal on Saturday 7th December at 11am in Upperthorpe Library to make the case for keeping it open.
The Group is campaigning to keep Upperthorpe Library open and for it to be retained as a fully funded Council library.
The library’s weekly opening hours of 86.5 over 7 days of the week are the longest in the city.
Upperthorpe Library is based in the Zest Centre, a community facility which houses a range of health and wellbeing services under one roof. This co-location makes it very cheap for the City Council to run, according to the Friends of Zest Group, who told Sheffield Live that:
- The Zest Centre has excellent disabled access making Upperthorpe Library one of the most accessible libraries for people with disabilities in the city.
- The library’s IT suite has the fifth highest usage of all libraries in the city, because Zest staff keep the IT suite open when library staff are not on site.
- The Zest Centre and the library is used not only by local residents from the surrounding deprived neighbourhoods, but also by people from across the city.
These factors have not been taken into consideration in the Council’s Library Review, according to members of the Friends of Zest Group, who believe that Upperthorpe Library with its co-location in the Zest Centre should be held up by the Council as a model for other community libraries rather than be closed.
Local parent David Smith told Sheffield Live “I bring my children down to swimming lessons every week – whilst one swims, the other sits and reads with me in the library. Having such a well-integrated facility makes it possible to have this great one-to-one time together, rather than sitting around the side of the pool.”
- The public meeting takes place on Saturday, 11am, at Upperthorpe Library and all are welcome.
- Friends of Zest is a group of local residents and users of the Zest Centre in Upperthorpe. Their main focus at the moment is protecting Upperthorpe Library within the Zest Centre against proposed closure in April 2014.
- Sheffield Live interviewed Councillor Mazher Iqbal in October. Details and link to podcast
- The chief executive of Zest was interviewed on last week’s Business Live programme. Details and link to podcast
Now that the Council have announced their proposed changes to Sheffield’s Libraries, the Cabinet Member responsible, Councillor Mazher Iqbal, came into Sheffield Live! to the discuss the plans.
In a two-part interview with Sheffield Live’s Laurence Peacock, Councillor Iqbal discussed the the financial background of the proposed changes and the question of sustaining independent libraries.
In part two, we focused on the details of the volunteer groups who have so far come forward to take over some city libraries and the feasibility of their doing so.
You can read the council report here, including all the proposals, and from the same link you can also contribute to the consultation.
The interviews were first broadcast on Communities Live on 2/10/13.
In the interests of full disclosure, we would like to state that Sheffield Live’s volunteer presenter, who conducted the interview (Laurence Peacock) is employed by Sheffield library service.