Public Libraries: As Good Today As They Have Ever Been

For National Libraries Week, East of the M60 looks at why public libraries have an important role in the 21st century

Dukinfield Library, Concord Way, Dukinfield
The first love for many bibliophiles: your local library, such as Dukinfield Library on Concord Way, which opened in November 1984.

Thank goodness for public libraries. With a parent or primary school teacher, they have helped ten of millions of Britons (or billions around the world) to get hooked on reading. Some, like this gentleman, have chosen the TV Times or the Manchester Evening News as their gateway drug (prior to borrowing their first book). Each day, many people call in for their literary fix. They come back for more every three weeks, sometimes carrying up to twelve items with them.

Whether Jackie Collins, Lewis Carroll or O.S. Nock, they can get sucked into a world of uncharted lands, plot lines, or travel back in time. Its mind altering substances, in hardback, paperback, or large print forms, are the written word. A psychosomatic substance for the theatre of the mind, dependent on one’s chosen interests.
Continue reading “Public Libraries: As Good Today As They Have Ever Been”

Cuts Scene Investigation: Changes to Tameside’s Libraries

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

Longer hours, less staff, but all eight libraries saved by technological developments

Dukinfield Library, Concord Way, Dukinfield
Dukinfield Library, Concord Way, Dukinfield, as photographed in 2012 with a Zenit TTL 35mm SLR camera.

Almost four years have passed since we did our previous Cuts Scene Investigation on the future of Tameside’s libraries. A lot has happened since then with libraries moving to smaller premises in more convenient locations. It has meant reduced opening hours and the retention of West End and Haughton Green libraries – as community-run facilities.
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34 Years a Bibliophile: My Most Influential Books

My life between pages

Dukinfield Library, Concord Way, Dukinfield
The source of my bibliophile leanings since the 21 November 1984: Dukinfield Library, Concord Way.

There are several habits, rituals and substances we acquire throughout our lives, some of which are risky. Others are less risky; some take up square metres shelf space or need a few circuits around the block (and beg for treats every so often). Continue reading “34 Years a Bibliophile: My Most Influential Books”

Cuts Scene Investigation: Greater Manchester’s Bus Network

East of the M60 on a possible gloomy outlook for Greater Manchester’s subsidised routes

Under Threat: Socially necessary services such as the 343 from Oldham to Hyde.

The last two years have been pretty good for Greater Manchester’s bus users. First Greater Manchester and Stagecoach Manchester have introduced new vehicles, either with electric-hybrid engines or free WiFi. Elsewhere, System One Travelcards have held the prices of their season tickets till April of this year. Patronage has increased; given the profit motive in today’s operations, it is most obviously trunk routes like the 330, 409 or 192 which have prospered. Continue reading “Cuts Scene Investigation: Greater Manchester’s Bus Network”

Tameside, In the Eye of the Tory Storm: April 2013 and Beyond

A Cuts Scene Investigation Special: Prospects for our borough

In 2009, our borough was in the midst of recovering from the global economic downturn along with numerous others in the United Kingdom. Even so, there was some optimism in the air. Despite voting ‘no’ to the congestion charge, Ashton-under-Lyne – thanks to a different funding package – got her trams. Though internet shopping began to make inroads, the Arcades Shopping Centre was slated for future extension. Public services were well funded. People still had money, and confidence, though energy prices started to climb. The new IKEA Store also helped things. Continue reading “Tameside, In the Eye of the Tory Storm: April 2013 and Beyond”

Council Offices Set for Move to New Location

Tameside MBC to consider move from TAC Building to cheaper premises

Much noise has been made about the ConDems’ cutbacks disproportionately affecting the North West. In a bid to alleviate much of the pain inflicted on public service delivery, local councils have been forced to find cheaper or more energy efficient premises. It was revealed in this week’s Tameside Advertiser that Tameside MBC have considered a move from the TAC Building, to new premises on Old Cross Street. Its proposed premises will be the site of the Swan Street car park, hitherto the site of the Phoenix Market Hall, and a temporary building for Ashton Central Library. Continue reading “Council Offices Set for Move to New Location”

Cuts Scene Investigation: How Housing Benefit Reforms Will Affect Tameside Residents

An East of the M60 Exclusive Report

Fleet Street, Ashton-under-Lyne
Photograph by Gene Hunt (Creative Commons Attribution License)

The Tameside area has a wide range of former council housing stock and properties owned by housing associations. Much of it was inherited from the pre-1974 Borough, Rural and Urban District Councils. In the borough, its two main players are New Charter Housing Trust and Ashton Pioneer Homes, whom inherited Tameside MBC’s housing in 1999. Continue reading “Cuts Scene Investigation: How Housing Benefit Reforms Will Affect Tameside Residents”

Dukinfield Library Saved – Though Cuts Continue

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. Continue reading “Dukinfield Library Saved – Though Cuts Continue”

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

An Open Letter to the People of Dukinfield

Dukinfield Library, Concord Way, Dukinfield
Our Unique Library: under threat from ConDem cutbacks.
What Could Happen, sometime in 2013: If Option One or Two is chosen, there will be no Dukinfield Library unless a community group takes over.

Continue reading “Cuts Scene Investigation: Tameside’s Libraries (Part Two)”

Public Sector Pay Cuts Fund Electrification Scheme

‘Women and Children Worst (Off)’: East of the M60’s verdict on the autumn budget

East of the M60 was right to be sceptical over the funding of the Manchester to Leeds electrification scheme. We said that the welfare budget would be dipped into. Continue reading “Public Sector Pay Cuts Fund Electrification Scheme”