Walsall Council is seriously considering, amongst other options, closing all of the Borough’s branch libraries, including Bloxwich Library and Theatre (aka Bookmark Bloxwich) in Elmore Row. This is due to the swingeing and cruel national government budget cuts being inflicted on the borough.
Amongst the many other possible ‘culture cuts’ (including massive reductions in funding to the New Art Gallery and major cutbacks involving the potential downsizing and moving of Walsall Leather Museum and Walsall Local History Centre in with the Central Library in Lichfield Street), such a closure would be a huge blow to Bloxwich and district both in cultural and educational terms.
Take part in the consultation NOW
We have covered the background to this in our previous story, including the arguments for why the library and theatre are needed, but what is most important RIGHT NOW is that individuals and local groups not only take part in Walsall Council’s current budget consultation (see links below) BEFORE the end of December but that they contact their local councillors and (politely, but firmly) express their opinions on the matter to them.
It is also very important to demonstrate that you use these facilities and that they are needed, so please, please go into your local library on a regular basis and take advantage of all it has to offer. It really is a case of use it or lose it, and next year we may very well lose it if nothing is done.
Council budget consultation
Nothing is yet set in stone, according to Walsall Council, so it is time to make your voice heard. Apart from the general consultation, there is also an online libraries, arts and heritage consultation by the council. To take part, follow the links below to further information and the online questionnaire.
To download a PDF format library consultation document click here:
Library, Leather Museum and Local History Centre Consultation
For further information about this section of the consultation on the Walsall Council website, go to:
Library Service Consultation page
For the online questionnaire on Draft Options, click on:
Draft Options for Libraries etc
And last but not least, the general Walsall Council Budget Consultation across all services pages:
Rebalancing our Budget – £86m over 4 years
Petition against closure
Bloxwich West Conservative Councillors Louise Harrison, Matt Follows and Brad Allen have organised an online petition on the Walsall Council website (see link below) aimed at saving both Bloxwich Library and the theatre, and have even been out collecting signatures in person. It is worth signing the petition, but this is NOT an alternative to the consultation, so please make sure you do both.
The petition states:
‘Keep Bloxwich Library open. Although we understand the budget cuts coming from central government means that savings have to be made, we believe that Bloxwich library theatre is an asset to our town and very well used by people not just from Bloxwich, but across the whole of Walsall. The closing date of this petition will be Friday 6th January 2017. Once submissions have been made, it will then be handed into the council on 9th January 2017 at a Full Council Meeting.’
Here is the link to the petition page:
Save Bloxwich Library and Theatre Petition
You can also contact the Bloxwich West Conservatives direct on their Facebook page:
Contact all your local Councillors
Write, email or speak to your local Ward Councillors and let them know you care about Bloxwich Library & Theatre. Here is a link to the Councillor contact details for all Walsall Council Wards:
Walsall Council wants to hear from you about the budget cuts proposals, not just for libraries, culture and heritage but for many other services. Now is the time to make your voice heard, when our local facilities are under their greatest threat ever.
It is not just us, but our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren who will lose out if these facilities are closed forever.
Remember, the consultation closes on 31 December 2016.