DONCASTER’S under-threat libraries have been saved from the axe for up to a year.
A total of 14 libraries were earmarked for closure, including those in Conisbrough and Denaby, as part of £71m Government cuts imposed on Doncaster Council.
But Mayor Peter Davies has bowed to the weight of protests from the public and councillors by deciding to use cash reserves to fund the service for a further 12 months.
Anti-closure campaigners remained cautious this week, however, as a further public consultation will now be carried out, to discuss the possibility of still closing the libraries in the near future.
Mayor Davies said: “The public have recently shown how much they value their library service and – while numerous buildings in various locations with limited users is just not financially viable, going forward – I have given a commitment to ensuring that we will allow our residents sufficient time to develop plans for community based options before we close these services completely”.
A review carried out last year suggested Doncaster had too many libraries, and more resources should be devoted to a smaller number to improve the overall service.
The move sparked a furious outcry an, more than 14,000 people signed petitions opposing the scheme.
As a result, the decision was called in, and discussed in detail at an overview and scrutiny committee meeting on Friday.
The decision to re-instate the budget for the under-threat libraries over the next year was rubber-stamped at full council meeting on Monday.
The Save Doncaster Libraries group said it was vital that the consultation process was “effective and representative”.
A spokesman added: “The Mayor and his Cabinet still intend to cut funding to 14 libraries. This is something that must be addressed, and we need to continue to fight to make the council take responsibility for the statutory provision of libraries”.