WORCESTERSHIRE County Council's continued look at possibly closing Rubery Library has prompted one Labour Councillor to say closing it would be an act of "cultural vandalism".

The Advertiser previously reported the future of some of Worcestershire’s smaller libraries such as Rubery hangs in the balance, and in December we reported on the council's decision to hold a crucial meeting on the fate of the library, the weekend before Christmas.

Labour Councillor Peter McDonald said despite the timing, more than 50 residents attended the meeting, which was chaired by Conservative Councillor Lucy Hodgson.

He said: "It could only be described as a sham of a consultation exercise being carried out by Tory Cabinet Member, Lucy Hodgson, accompanied by two officers. They made it clear from the onset it was their intention to rip the heart out of our community which can only be described as an act of cultural vandalism.

"They totally ignored the fact made time and again by residents that the library is not just shelves with books on, but so much more, from children's story times to helping elderly and vulnerable people connect with the world around them.

"There was no recognition that Rubery over recent years had suffered one cutback after another and the only focus point left for the community was the library.

"What came out of the consultation was that the County Council’s contempt for the people of Rubery, suggesting libraries should be run by volunteers, thus, sacking qualified librarians. Although they know full well that if we want our children to fall in love with reading, we need properly trained, properly paid staff to guide them through the process in properly resourced libraries."

He added: "Shutting our libraries fails our children and elderly; it also weakens communities when we should be doing everything to strengthen them. We in Rubery value and cherish our library and will not lay back and be rolled over."

Councillor Lucy Hodgson, cabinet member for Communities, said: "The drop-in sessions at libraries have been very well attended so far so thank you to everyone who has come along to one. The sessions are focused on sharing the current proposals and to seek ideas on how the library service can be delivered differently in the future.

“We are still consulting on the overall proposals so no decision has been made about any of our libraries. A decision will be made once the consultation ends and every single response is looked at properly.

“There are still a number of drop-in sessions taking place throughout January so I’d encourage anyone interested to come along and have their say.”

The consultation has been extended until February 28. To take part, visit snapsurveys.com/wh/s.asp?k=153968529047

To find out where the next drop-in sessions is, visit worcestershire.gov.uk/info/20017/libraries_and_learning/1926/the_future_of_worcestershire_libraries__have_your_say_public_drop_in_sessions