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From Telegraph & Argus, September 5th, 2019
Written by Alistair Shand

Keighley Library is staying open despite pressures on funding, says the town’s MP. John Grogan issued the public assurance on the week Bradford Council’s latest round of budget cuts was due to bite on the Libraries and Museums Service. Mr Grogan said the changes centred around management structures and were unlikely to affect Keighley Library users. He spoke after local people expressed concerns about the future of the North Street building amidst rumours on social media, staff uncertainty, and council discussions with outside bodies over future uses.

Mr Grogan said he had spoken to council leader Susan Hinchcliffe over the past few days about the library and was informed that “once again despite continuing drastic Government cuts the library is staying open”.

Mr Grogan said: “The changes in September centre around management structures and are unlikely to affect Keighley Library users.

“Later in the year the council will consult on further changes to be implemented from April 2020 and I think a proper judgement can be made when these proposals are published.”
Mr Grogan said public libraries had always been a reference and advice point for citizens seeking access to other public services, but warned: “The detail is obviously very important to both staff and library users.

“We need the Government in the November budget to recognise the worth of libraries and local government generally by funding them properly.”

The council last week said cuts imposed on September 1 had been in consultation since January with members of the public, councillors and trade unions.

They were mainly around changes in management posts, a cut in the book fund to £298,300 per year, and the creation of ‘hub libraries’ including Keighley. Proposals did not include library closures.

The council said budget proposals for 2020/21 were almost complete, and would go to consultation in the coming weeks.

Former Keighley and Bradford councillor Brian Morris this week expressed concern, saying that bringing in outside bodies to run services from the building would “decimate” the library.
He said: “Keighley Library is one of the most used libraries in the district, its only fault is it’s in Keighley so must be sacrificed for the benefit of Bradford and its continued asset-stripping plans for the outlying areas.”

Cllr Morris said his research showed that under the terms of the historical ‘gift’ of the Carnegie library to the people of Keighley in 1898, Bradford Council as the building’s caretakers had to spend the building to spend 10% of the original fund each year, which he said in today’s money was over £1 million.