Save Burnage Library

Burnage library opened in 1974, replacing the previous, fire damaged library. Since then, it has provided the community with an essential service for learning and leisure and has maintained a central position in the community as other council services have eroded over the years.

Locally, it is the last surviving public council facility, which provides an essential resource for young and old alike and we are fighting to stop its merciless closure. Please lend your support our campaign and help keep Burnage library open!

Campaign meetings are public and take place at Burnage Community Centre on Wednesday evenings, 6pm - 8pm until the decision on the consultation on the 17th April 2013.

Sign the online petition at;

Alternatively, sign the petitions at the health centre, library and other outlets and don't forget to like our Facebook page at:

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Firm foundations

I moved to Burnage as a child in 1989 when my parents decided to settle in Manchester after a life of travelling the UK and abroad for my father's work in management consultancy. The first things we were registered at were the key facilities of school, doctors surgery, dentist and library

You'll notice the significance of that list. As a family, we regarded education as a key foundation for future success and wherever we were in the UK the library was always as staple a service as any other. I also had what some people might consider an almost unhealthy childhood obsession with reading, though I have to say, from where I am now, I would definitely do that all again.

I myself had never made use of any library services as much as I had of Burnage library in the 12 years to that date. I was often to be found in Burnage library after school, sometimes until late closing. I was also just as much playing board games against my siblings, like chess (which I now play competitively in my adult years) as borrowing books on electronics and computer programming which were my hobbies at the time. The library was a crucial part of my weekly structure between the ages of 12 and 16 and the close proximity to where we lived made it extremely easy for us to use those facilities, often without the need for parental supervision. 

From what people may regard as relatively humble beginnings, using the library as a complement to schooling, me and almost all of my siblings are now postgraduate educated, have high flying careers having worked for some of the biggest names in the country and indeed the world. In a recent contract in London I bumped into a fellow Burnage resident who had taken on a role as a software developer at the same telecoms company I was it. I can only say that our educational foundations, the very basics of what were known as the three 'R's would not have been the same had it not been for the convenience and relative safety of Burnage library. Indeed, my parents would probably argue they would never have had as much peace if it wasn't there ;-)

I still go into Burnage library a lot these days and have seen the library change a little over the years; with the introduction of new technology; DVD/CD rentals (it was tapes in my early days); various new library cards, formats and designs; the introduction of telephone and then on-line lending and renewals; more discrete footfall counters.... but maybe only library grown electronics nerds like me would have noticed that last one :-). However, the library hasn't changed so much that I don't look forward to a spare mid-morning read of the papers, exploring the shelves for something that piques my interest or that appeal to my rather eclectic and diverse tastes in books and media. 

What I see when I look around is that Burnage library serves the local community really well. From the weekly lessons teachers give to the primary school students in the children's library to the fortnightly Wednesday coffee mornings it used to hold for local residents. It gave those demographics in the community in particular, a well known, convenient meeting point to enrich their lives. 

When I am in the library, the types of people I see most often are children, adults with young children and those members of senior years who all make use of the library facilities. I am pretty certain that Burnage library's closure would disproportionately affect all those individuals and for those just starting their lives, would disadvantage them in later education or training and potentially not allow them to reach the heights that come of us have reached.  

Let us not forget that one of it's alleged weaknesses is actually also a strength. Granted, the library floor-space is small. However, Burnage library's loan office has a perfect, near 360 degree view of both the adult and children's library. It is a safe place to be, especially for children and it compares incredibly favourably with the libraries of Didsbury, Longsight and of course, the Central library in Manchester. All of which have nooks and hidey-holes out of view of library staff. The reaction of parents bringing their children to Burnage library says it all, in that I have never seen a parent need to keep a child by their side for fear of them running off and getting lost.

With the cuts in public services and the sheer lack of library and leisure facilities specific to Burnage, I expect that the community of current and future generations would lose out massively should Burnage library close. I don't know about the council members and their children, but I wouldn't want this to happen here.

Save Burnage Library!


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