library - Nantwich Library (Google)

Two Cheshire East councillors have called on Crewe & Nantwich MP Kieran Mullan to lobby the chancellor for funding to stop library services being slashed, writes Belinda Ryan.

Cheshire East Council faces a £20m funding gap because of soaring inflation and the increasing pressure on services.

Among the cost-cutting measures included in the budget was a proposal to revise the library service provision to save £1,056,000 over the next four years. That is being consulted on now.

This means libraries like Nantwich and one at Crewe Lifestyle Centre could close for a day and a half each week, and face cuts to funds for buying in new books and resources.

Labour councillors Laura Smith and Anthony Critchley have written to Tory MP Dr Mullan urging him to lobby the government for extra funding.

Cllr Smith (Crewe South), a former MP for Crewe and Nantwich, said: “Austerity measures enforced by Conservative governments over the last decade have resulted in real terms cuts amounting to more than 20% for council budgets.

“Until central government deals with the financial impact of the increased cost of social care, the everyday services we all value will continue to suffer as councils have to respond to a huge combination of pressures.

“This isn’t an inevitability – if the government wished to invest in community, then it could, and that investment would then positively impact our local economy.”

She said a group of 10 Crewe Labour councillors had written to Cheshire East’s chief executive in March outlining their concerns about the impact on library services.

“Ultimately, we want a situation whereby services are retained, and our highly experienced and trained staff are recompensed well for the vital role that they do,” said Cllr Smith.

Cllr Critchley said it was staggering just how many services the library provides.

“At 10.30am on a Monday morning, there were two people sat reading, a private tutoring lesson going on with two children – staff mentioned that this is often the case for kids expelled from school, five people using the internet on the computers, two women sat in the history section researching, four people sat at the tables upstairs working on their laptops.

“While all of this was going on, ‘Old McDonald’ and ‘heads, shoulders, knees, and toes’ were ringing out from the ‘Monday Funday’ session downstairs – one of three pre-school activity groups that are attended by 15/20 toddlers and under-fives.

“Staff spoke of the residents who look forward to the Thursday games club – last week attended by 25 people, mostly older and susceptible to social isolation,” he said.

He added the library has a jobs club and recently, because of funding cuts to the citizen’s advice bureau, library staff often become increasingly involved in issues previously dealt with by the CAB.

“Libraries are a safe place; over the winter they were a warm place,” said the Crewe Central councillor, listing numerous other services they provide.

“Now is the time to invest in their services, not to shrink them. But that depends on the Conservative government investing in them.”

Cheshire East is holding a further consultation on the proposals and is seeking feedback from the public on how income might be generated to help keep libraries open for longer, how library provision should be delivered in local areas, and what the new opening hours for each Cheshire East library should look like.

Cllr Critchley added: “Please respond to the consultation and write to the MP urging that he lobbies his government.”

The consultation, which closes on July 9, can be here found here

(Image by Google maps)


  1. Yes they do….children absorb books like sponges. It helps their reading skills and imagination. The library has hundreds of books for them a number which if their parents had to buy not to mention store….would be near impossible. Adults are returning more to books as well as using the library version of Kindle ( it’s called Borrowbox). Tutors use the library everyday to educate and help excluded children. Students and Home schooled children study there. Adults use the space as a home office. People come to meet, learn and take part in weekly clubs and activities. There are language conversation groups, reading groups, art and crafts, creative writing, chess, Lego, children’s summer activities and the reading challenge which hundreds of Nantwich and district children get involved in. The library is a hub for homeless help, food bank referrals, citizens advice, blue badge applications, bus and rail passes the list goes on….yes, it is a life safer and a starting point for help for anyone who needs it. Yes it is used and needed!!

  2. Dabber Dave says:

    Does anyone even use a library these days with everything available at the touch of a mouse?

  3. Does anyone know what options CE have considered to maximise the use of the library services for example partnering with other organisations in the area and developing a commercial model that benefits both. Also in Nantwich , what availability is there in the Town Hall to support some of the services at risk should the Government be able to offer fiscal support. Based on the article it feels that CE simply want to blame others rather than exploiting the art of the possible. Lastly how is the mobile library service impacted

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