Libraries closure decision delayed

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LOCAL libraries earmarked for closure by Libraries NI have been given a few more months before a final decision is made on whether or not to keep them open.

Both Moneymore and Draperstown libraries were named during a review of services across Northern Ireland and had been threatened with closure by June.

But it has emerged that a decision on the libraries’ future will now not be taken until September this year - to accommodate this week’s elections, considering the fact many board members are currently seeking re-election to their local councils.

David Elliott, Chairperson of Libraries NI, said: “We are very grateful to everyone who responded to the consultation process and we want to thank the large number of people who participated.

“This has generated a significant amount of information which is being collated for analysis and we want to assure you that the Board values these responses.”

Mid-Ulster Assembly candidate Sandra Overend reminded library users and those in support of keeping the services open that the threat of closure remains strong.

“This is not a time for celebration as we should be fully aware that the threat of closure is still there and only delayed,” she said.

“The campaign to save our local libraries will continue, and I will be pressing the Board of Libraries NI to review its user statistics before it takes any further steps.

“I have also asked Libraries NI to review how it promotes and markets its rural libraries as I think it is in its interest and responsibility to promote all its libraries fairly.”