THE Big Procession of the gigantic book ‘Don’t Close the Book on Killyleagh‘ which took place on Saturday 2nd April was the culmination of the campaign to save the library in Killyleagh from possible closure. Libraries NI have recommended that he library be closed as it has not met their essential criteria paricularly around sustainability. The building itself, owned by the South Eastern Regional College, also has significant issues regarding disabled acccess.
The climax of the ‘Save Killyleagh Library’campaign saw a great number of the children and adults from the Killyleagh area parade through the village showing their huge support for their local library. They were supported by politicians from different parties and their message to Libraries NI was plain and simple: ‘our library was not for closing’.
Clive Scoular, Committee chairman said, “The committee will be addressing the full board of Libraries NI on Thursday 14th April in an endeavour to drive home the evident flaws in their case for closure and to express the views that Killyleagh wants to retain the excellent services and facilities provided there.
“A decision will be made by the Board sometime in June and, in the meantime, the committee will continue its work to keep the matter in the public eye. I would like to thank once more everyone who has helped us in our effort to keep the library open for all the tremendous support offered by the local people and by the local press. We remain optimistic as to the future of the library.
“But we will fight on. Channels with Libraries NI are open right up to the decision time so we hope Libraries NI take aboard our argument which has received total backing on our community,” said Mr Scoular.
There is much anger in Killyleagh that the home town of Killyeagh man Sir Hans Sloane, founder of the Enlightenment icon, the British Musem, may be without a library. Local opinion has backed the library campaign and all that remains to be seen now after the final appeal from the campaign commitee to Libraries NI Board is whether the Board find a creative and acceptible solution to this difficult issue.
Every strategy is driven by need and Killyleagh has demonstated its need and desire for a library. Therefore, is is up to the Board to ensure the people of Killyeagh receive parity of esteeem with their neighbours in Down District and farther afield and that a solution is found. A mobile library option was discounted by the campaigners.
Killyleagh does not want to be plunged into the ‘dark ages’ and after making huge progress over recent years in improving life in their community, it will come as a body blow to local residents if the library is closed.
The option of closure is poor regard for such positive community effort and this must be taken aboard when the decision is made by the Board of Libraries NI.