Sheffield & South Yorkshire

Doncaster libraries reading scheme 'hypocritical'

Campaigner Lauren Smith
Image caption Ms Smith said the council's logic in cutting library services was flawed

Doncaster Council has been criticised for promoting a reading scheme for children while planning to shut more than half the town's libraries.

In February, the authority gave the go-ahead to stop funding 14 out of 26 libraries because of government cuts despite huge protests.

The council maintained it was "committed to ensuring all libraries continue to operate as normal".

However, campaigner Lauren Smith accused the the council of hypocrisy.

Following the cuts in funding, the authority launched a summer reading challenge in a bid to encourage youngsters to read more books.

The challenge is being run in the town's libraries, with activities and events designed to create a buzz around children's reading.

Cuts blamed

But Ms Smith, from Save Doncaster Libraries, said: "We find it quite ironic that during the summer reading challenge the libraries are promoting the brilliant challenge but then next year there's going to be half the number of libraries and fewer books for kids to read, fewer services and kids are not going to have the access to that reading challenge.

"The council has had really flawed logic when it comes to cutting library services."

Libraries facing closure are: Bawtry, Wheatley, Edenthorpe, Balby, Warsmworth, Sprotbrough, Cantley, Moorends, Denaby, Intake, Rossington, Carcroft, Scawthorpe and Bessacarr.

The council said the decision to withdraw funding had been made as a result of government cuts.

It said it had received more than 7000 questionnaire responses from residents as part of a consultation on the plans.

In a statement, the council said: "We are committed to ensuring all libraries continue to operate as normal.

"Our summer reading challenge has been a great success in delivering a range of activities for families across the borough and we are working hard to seeing even more people reading and accessing good quality information in Doncaster."

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