Cuts Scene Investigation: Tameside’s Libraries (Part Two)

  • Populace opt for retention of main libraries;
  • Haughton Green, Denton West End, Newton, Mottram and Hurst libraries to close;
  • Reduced opening hours may follow on remaining libraries and Local Studies Library.
Dukinfield Library, Concord Way, Dukinfield
Saved: Dukinfield Library, Concord Way.

The fate of Tameside’s public libraries has been decided this week. Following a consultation, the people of Tameside have gone along with the council’s recommendation, denoted as Option Three on The Big Conversation webpage.

Option Three advocates the retention of Ashton Central Library, Stalybridge, Hyde, Droylsden, Denton and Dukinfield libraries. Mossley library will move from its current premises to a new home in the George Lawton Hall, whereas the new Hattersley library next to TESCO Extra will also serve Mottram residents. All three options advocated the closure of Hurst, Newton, Haughton Green, Mottram (to be served by new Hattersley library) and Denton West End libraries, the transfer of Mossley library, whereas the first two options suggested the closure of Dukinfield library.

Denton West End, Haughton Green, Mottram, Newton and Hurst libraries will close on the 12th October this year. So far, community groups have been set up to take over running the affected branches. The Local Studies Library will see a reduction in opening hours, closing on Mondays and Fridays. Saturday will see reduced opening hours, opening between 1000 – 1500 hours, week beginning 15th October.

Furthermore, changes to opening hours throughout Tameside’s octet of libraries will be reduced, with all libraries open one less day in the week and reduced opening hours throughout the whole week. After the 15 October, the new opening hours will be as follows:

  • Ashton Central Library: Tuesdays and Thursdays: 0900 – 2000, Wednesdays and Fridays: 0900 – 1700, Saturdays: 1000 – 1500 (closed Mondays);
  • Denton: Mondays and Thursdays: 0900 – 2000, Fridays, 0900 – 1700, Saturdays, 1000 – 1500 (closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays);
  • Droylsden: Mondays and Thursdays: 0900 – 2000, Fridays, 0900 – 1700, Saturdays, 1000 – 1500 (closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays);
  • Dukinfield: Mondays: 0900 – 1930, Tuesdays and Thursdays: 0900 – 1700, Saturdays: 0900 – 1300 (closed Wednesdays and Fridays);
  • Hattersley: Mondays: 0900 – 1930, Tuesdays: 0900 – 1700, Thursdays: 1300 – 1700, Saturdays: 0900 – 1300 (closed Wednesdays and Fridays);
  • Hyde: Mondays and Fridays: 0900 – 2000, Tuesdays and Wednesdays: 0900 – 1700, Saturdays: 1000 – 1500 (closed Thursdays);
  • Mossley: Mondays and Fridays: 0900 – 1700, Wednesdays: 0900 – 1930, Saturdays: 0900 – 1300 (closed Tuesdays and Thursdays);
  • Stalybridge: Mondays and Wednesdays: 0900 – 2000, Tuesdays: 0900 – 1700, Saturdays: 1000 – 1500 (closed Thursdays and Fridays);
  • Local Studies and Archives Library: Tuesdays: 0900 – 2000, Wednesdays and Thursdays: 0900 – 1700, Saturdays: 1000 – 1500 (closed Mondays and Fridays).

Improvements to existing libraries

All remaining libraries will see upgraded internet connections and the introduction of WiFi. The Housebound Library Service will be upgraded. Some branches will also have childcare services, and some Post Offices will also have book carousels (possibly in locations affected by the closures).

Also planned are free book reservations – a service hitherto available till 2009 – and the arrival of e-book borrowing services. All these innovations will be worthy additions to the borough’s library network. Though welcome to regular users, this may not be enough to convince less regular users in Mottram, Dane Bank, Haughton Green, Hurst and Newton to catch the next bus to their nearest one.

*                                 *                                 *

Next on Cuts Scene Investigation…

Community Libraries: examples of contemporary practice and provision as per the Public Libraries and Museums Act 1964.

S.V., 26 September 2012.

11 thoughts on “Dukinfield Library Saved – Though Cuts Continue

  1. I was thinking to myself recently (before these changes were announced) that libraries could do with offering WiFi. I thought that with all these cuts that there’d be no way that would happen. I stand corrected!

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    1. Hi Mark,

      As far back as 2004, I suggested to my fellows at Dukinfield Library as to whether there were plans to introduce WiFi. At the time there wasn’t, owing to the perceived security issues at the time. Manchester City Council’s libraries have had Free WiFi since 2010.

      In Option Two, there were plans to introduce these ‘all singing all dancing’ improvements to services – though without Dukinfield Library. Thankfully, they’ve added some of these changes, possibly on a smaller scale, though quite rightly, gone with Option Three on ensuring library provision in one District Assembly constituency.

      I hope the reduced hours only become a temporary motion, till a more pro-public sector government takes over.

      Bye for now,

      Stuart.

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  2. Cheers Stuart. This is something I also just said to a fellow historical researcher and campaigners FOR non closure…
    I totally sympathise with everyone on the local history front and the research side of things….stuff that is VERY precious to me…but also – our tiny wanabee lovers of libraries…
    ‘Cause yeah….when I was 8 years old and first fell in love with a library…of course I would have a) been able to get a bus to the nearest one without an adult accompanying me and PLANNING it all .. b) been able to afford the bus fare and c) been able to understand a bus timetable d) get home on my own in time – and SAFELY. And we all sit there and wonder why we – and why our kids – are becoming more and more isolated from society at large and from community?
    But hey – isnt this just what the Tories want? Thatcher brought the hatchet to ‘society’ and the chance for working class kids to learn about the ‘sytem’ outside of the tosh that they will learn for their GCSEs…. Good old Dave is doing his best to send it up in smoke…

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    1. Hi Tina,

      My thoughts on Dodgy Dave are too profane for inclusion on this august soupçon of server space, not least the fact I refrain from using such language on this blog (obviously with East of the M60 being the left of centre, right of aforementioned motorway family weblog it is).

      Though I was happy with some of the forthcoming technological developments – and the retention of my own library – the reduced opening hours were my main grouse. The last thing I would like to hear is the local populace blaming the council (most likely, the outcome which Scamoron would want – convenient flak deflection for them) when the real culprits are the meritophobic ConDems. Suffice to say, there is probably sufficient local support for restoring opening hours to the pre-15 October 2012, which may be made known by the 2014 Local Elections (and after the 2015 General Election).

      I was taught from an early age to enjoy my library, and this was in terms of being able to read for pleasure. Then I discovered the Local Studies Library, which at the time was in Stalybridge. Besides researching the history of the Mighty Stalybridge Celtic, it is also a joy to look at the old Reporters and Advertisers for background information on the local issues of the day – and the price of baked beans in Fine Fare!!!

      Bye for now,

      Stuart.

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      1. Stuart (apologies for delay)
        I think that it is good for sure re, the wi-fi. Been begging for that in our neck of the woods for ages. A meeting next week at our local library which is under the axe… The teccie stuff is a ‘no brainer’ as they say.
        I am also ‘with you’ on the local councils stuff. I think that a lot of us can see where they can make savings – but no point in sitting there moaning about this kind of thing – if you can see where a saving can be made, you should be out there and telling your councillor or joining in some other kind of civic/participatory involvement. I get so cross when I hear the ‘all politicians are the same’ stuff. I have known and worked with some senior politicians at national level and at local level. As well as your ‘average’ councillor – and whilst I have known some dodgy ones, there have been some real shining stars who have totally impressed me.
        When I hear people say ‘oh they’re all the same’ I feel like screaming ‘SO HOW MUCH OF THIS OPINIONG IS BASED ON MEDIA REPORTING AND HOW MUCH IS BASED ON YOUR OWN ENGAGEMENT IN THE SYSTEM AND KNOWING POLITICIANS’.
        Whoops sorry for shouting (at least no bad language…following your lead).

        Again, I am with you on the opening hours but there is this ‘over the barrel’ situation at the moment. It would surely be reliant on volunteers? And whilst many of us would definitely want to help…then the paid for, core service would all too easily slip into the ‘voluntary sector’ side of the equation.
        I would like to see local libraries become a ‘hub’ for more community stuff (writing / reading clubs – most do) but perhaps am-dram/performance stuff, comedy even, Certainly more support for young families to meet/learn. KNit n natter is taking off here – but there are so many other ways of using a library.
        I worry that we have all become a bit to reliant on ‘others doing for us’ (ie ‘why dont they do a knit and natter at our local library’ should become ‘why dont i have a try at starting a knit and natter – nothing ventured….’ etc).
        I also think that the starting point may well be with young people/schools. A lot of us ‘grown ups’ are too cushioned in the ‘sit here and moan’ mentality. I think that we should be showing our young people to take a lead. Get them starting up groups at the library. Something for them to feel good/ proud about and another way where we can engage with younger people rather than see them all as hoodies or ‘another species’.
        I for one would rather hang round with young people who are not as worldy wise and who have not become moaning minnies like too many in my generation have.

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      2. Hi Tina,

        No worries about the delay: it is better to wait awhile before commenting intelligently rather than comment in a slap dash way. How many of us fail to engage brain before putting mouth into gear either on a weblog/forum/letter, in conversation, or on Twitter? Countless people. The ‘all politicians are the same’ quid pro quo is most definitely down to reporting rather than personal experience with them. For some, the opiate which is reality television and consumerism dissuades some individuals than doing something about their area.

        Some people may lack the time to participate civically; that is understandable due to family or work demands. I am often reminded of the Mahatma Gandhi quote ‘be the change you want to be’. It was the inadequacies of the local press which prompted me to blog in the first place, along with raising awareness of my own activities. (Here ends my shameless plug).

        The proposed opening hours, set to kick in ten days from now, are based around existing members of staff. On no account did the proposals ever suggest volunteer labour for the remaining libraries under all three options suggested in the consultation. The voluntary side would be the route which Haughton Green, Denton West End, Hurst, Mottram and Newton libraries may take (subject to community support).

        In future years, I can see greater community involvement for libraries, and my reasons are twofold. One, to raise awareness of the library itself; and two, that a library as part of a community centre, could be a good way of expanding towards live performance, as well as maximising the potential of the building itself. The Central Library in Manchester, is being refurbished, and that has had a live theatre since the mid-1970s (converted from a lecture hall); ditto the above with the Wythenshawe Forum. Interestingly, Tameside MBC has suggested, and will move as part of its plans, Mossley Library to the George Lawton Hall. The George Lawton Hall, as you may know, has been a popular venue for amateur dramatics and live performance for 50 years. However, residents have hit out at the lack of space within the hall for library provision.

        You are right in the sense we need to start them young [with libraries]. A survey from the Boys’ Reading Commission found 75% of boys falling behind in reading (National Literacy Trust, 02 July 2012: http://www.literacytrust.org.uk/media/4720) which I find most alarming. I’ve never stopped reading since I was very young. Though the books and magazines I read weren’t literary classics, I did place Greater Manchester Transport’s bus maps on the same pantheon as Charles Dickens. If we don’t read for pleasure at an early age, how on earth do we understand bus timetables or till rolls, let alone David Copperfield? Reading also encourages inquisition and interaction with parents, peers and work colleagues.

        We need something to make us all buzzy and forget – even for one hour a week – household chores or work commitments, by means of the written word and other forms of Artism. Our libraries are the best place for this, and – hopefully – should remain so till kingdom come.

        Warmly,

        Stuart.

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  3. Marvellously put Stuart. Like you, I can’t remember a time without books (though I can just about remember learning to read and how liberating it all felt). So it has been one hell of a bumpy rid finding having dyslexia introduced into the family. Interestingly enough though – the number of people diagnosed with dyslexia is booming. Not because ‘more people are getting it’ – just that we are realising what ‘it’ is now. And although youngsters with dyslexia tend to run screaming and kicking from being made to read – they can still love books and the written word. But a more creative and understanding route ‘into reading and words’ is needed. And if you start reading up about misdiagnosis of kids (esp those labelled ‘ADHD’) it can often be about a bright kid, with a hidden impairment like dyslexia, who cannot channel their inquisitivity and intelligence via the written word (and god forbid you be dyslexia and born into the english language – what a stupid, silly, inconsistent language and set of symbols for the dyslexic brain!! Parents need the patience of a Saint to help a kid with dyslexia…never mind the teachers…) So this is where some damned good libraries could save the day!!
    For example – dyslexia is simply about ‘language’ – and that (for me) is what libraries should be about. Loving language and learning. Simply having a book read to you – whether you can read or not – is one of the greatest pleasures ever. As you say ‘we need something to make us all buzzy and forget’ and I do wish libraries had been a bit better at ‘moving with the times’ on this side of things…..
    OK – Duki might prove me wrong here….but you go in there…pretend you are dyslexic (or that your child is) and try and find a) some specialist guidance for you/the child from a member of staff and b) find a book aimed at YOU that HELPS you to read better ( ie. reading materials specifically FOR the person with the dyslexia – not a ‘WHAT IS DYSLEXIA’ book for grownups. Quite a few of them about I am sure…)
    So many hidden impairments like dyslexia have their roots in the way that language is processed in the brain (you know this more than I do about this no doubt) and it would be fantastic if libraries could shift a gear upwards and provide a haven and a sanctuary for those of us who wouldnt naturally gravitate towards the written word.

    Speaking of which….libraries have also always been a haven for people having problems at home, wanting a bit of romance away from the watchful eyes of others and who just fancy a bit of a kip. Bring on the big comfy sofa chairs and discreet little corners I say….!

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  4. PS – none of us mind your shameless plugs, I am sure. Come to think of it, I would put money on it that most people who read your blog/spaces learn more from your observations that we do from the Tameside Advertiser, the MEN or from Jeremy Kyle. 😉 I *nearly* said that you were more educational than the MIghty Celtic’s website then – but I know that there would be howls of outrage from some of your followers, if I was so rude!!

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    1. Hi Tina,

      I love the idea of libraries as a place for ‘a bit of romance away from the watchful eyes of others’, but I think the realpolitik of CCTV and reduced opening hours, plus the architecture of modern libraries may be a disincentive. As for the potential for flirting, some may argue this detracts from the original notion of self-improvement.

      I used to like the beige sofas of the mid-1980 Dukinfield Library. Combined with the exposed brickwork, slab coffee tables and pot plants, it reminded me of being in the TV-am studio with Nick Owen and Anne Diamond. (Now, if Gyles Brandreth entered the library instead of my mother, I would have happily discussed trains). City Library in the centre of Manchester has quite a few comfy sofas, though I’ve no idea how many comfy sofas will be seen in the newly refurbished Central Library (when that reopens).

      Though Dukinfield Library does a good line in large print books and audio tapes for visually impaired persons, I have yet to assess dyslexia related material – other than general primers on the subject.

      Bye for now,

      Stuart.

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  5. I always found the exposed brickwork to be rather dangerous – especially when shoved against it during a sibling fight. I cannot even BEAR to remember how the fabric of those terrible sofas felt when you dragged your nails down them. And the next time I engage in hardcore flirting in the library I shall restrain myself. I never thought of the CCTV! Cripes.

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    1. Hi Tina,

      Exposed brickwork is a bit dangerous for sibling fights, but exposed brick seemed to have been An In Thing among 1980s public buildings. The Hollies Surgery’s 1986 building is another exemplar of that theory along with the now closed Hurst library.

      As far as I know, [the November 1984] Dukinfield Library probably had CCTV from the start. (Slightly off topic) The first time I remember seeing CCTV anywhere, it was in Boots on Staveleigh Way which has these black domed cameras, looking like ELO’s spaceship (with one blinking red LED instead of cornucopia of coloured lights).

      Bye for now,

      Stuart.

      Like

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