A CHORUS of condemnation has been expressed by Mid Ulster elected representatives at the decision to close Moneymore library.
Mid Ulster DUP MLA, Ian McCrea has branded the announcement as “indefensible”.
“I am extremely disappointed by the news that Moneymore library to close,” he said.
“This news comes as the result of a review by Libraries NI which has seen a number of rural libraries imposed with conditions, but sees Moneymore and Moy libraries earmarked for closure.
“Local libraries such as Moneymore have provided somewhere for people to spend their day either reading or searching for work on the internet through their internet and computer provision.
“The decision represents a backward step in promoting education and learning in addition to healthy minds,” he said.
Ulster Unionist MLA Sandra Overend said the decision should make people engage with the consultation on Magherafelt and Cookstown libraries.
“While I am pleased that those living in the rural area of Draperstown have received good news, I am extremely disappointed in the announcement by Libraries NI that Moneymore is to lose its library,” she said.
“The people of Moneymore are devastated by this news. The library plays a pivotal role in the community and its closure will be sorely felt.
“I intend to query this decision with Libraries NI with specific questions over the rural proofing of the decision and how exactly they intend to provide facilities to the residents of Moneymore and surrounding area through mobile and outreach services.
“Furthermore, it is vitally important that everyone take the opportunity to response to the ongoing consultation regarding the proposed reduction to the hours of service for Cookstown and Magherafelt libraries,” she added.
Cookstown Councillor Robert Kelly has said the library closure will have a “detrimental effect” on the village.
“During the so-called consultation process and other subsequent meetings with Libraries NI representatives it was increasingly obvious from their attitude that they were intent on closing as many libraries as possible in order to save money and resources.
“At a time when we are trying to turn the image of Moneymore around, it is very discouraging to see that we are now going to have another empty premises on our main street, the more places and services that we lose from our village the harder it gets to encourage people to come and visit and spend money in the facilities that are remaining,” he continued.
Councillor Trevor Wilson also said: “At the public meeting I expressed concern that the decision to close Moneymore had already been taken. I have no reason now to think this was not the case. With the ongoing consulation to reduce the opening hours for Cookstown it is now vitally important that people respond to this consultation.”
To find out about the consultation on Cookstown and Magherafelt libraries go to www.ni-libraries.net/public-consultations.