Shropshire Star

Comedian Jo Brand wades into fight for Ludlow Library

She's not known for mincing her words – and today comedian Jo Brand waded into the fight to save Ludlow Library from closure.


The 58-year-old is a regular visitor to the library because her mother Joyce lives in the town.

And she today called for Shropshire Council to ensure its future, saying asking volunteers to staff the library was running it "on the cheap".

She said: "Every civilised town should have a library. It will be a sad day if Ludlow's disappears."

Her comments come as no agreement has yet been struck over who might take on the running of the venue if Shropshire Council withdraw all funding from April 2017 as planned.

If no alternative is found by September this year, Shropshire Council may be forced to close it, bosses have said.

Jo's mother Joyce lives in Ludlow and is a well known campaigner for NHS services in the town, but has also recently raised concerns over the future of the library, which shares a building with Ludlow Museum Resource Centre on Parkway.

Jo said: "Like my mum, I am a huge believer in public libraries and what they have to offer.

"Every civilised town and city should have at least one.

"They offer education, entertainment, debate, a meeting place and somewhere for kids to take part in reading projects and get to know books.

"For a start, lots of people can't afford books and the opportunity to read is one that should not be denied to anyone.

"In may ways libraries are the centre of the community and trying to run them on the cheap using volunteers, in my opinion, is not the way forward."

However, she said the alternative was even worse.

"Closing libraries, to me, is dismantling part of the structure of an informed, forward looking, community and it will be a sad day if Ludlow Library disappears."

Her mother Joyce Brand recently went on record to say she has had a library ticket for close to 80 years and had "acquired knowledge within library walls that formal education often failed to offer".

She said Ludlow Library's had 3,788 active borrowers, 516 of which were children, and there were 21 regular activity groups based there.

"What are (leader of Shropshire Council) Malcolm Pate and company thinking of? What do they think is their civic duty?" she asked.

Ludlow Town Council is still in talks with Shropshire Council over the fate of the library, but members say they would need two years to handle any possible transfer of such large-scale services.

However, Stuart West, Shropshire Council's cabinet member for leisure and culture, said while the timescale may be "challenging", key decisions on such services needed to be made so a budget could be approved by Shropshire Council in February 2017.

A petition asking Ludlow MP Philip Dunne to step in and make sure Ludlow Library is safe now has hundreds of signatures.

Mr Dunne said he was in talks with all parties and will be happy to receive the petition when submitted.

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