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[BKARTS] Vandals permanently shut down library



Vandals permanently shut down library
By Steve Castle
Mar 26, 2005, 08:32


An under-siege Walsall library hit by a year-long onslaught of vandalism and
arson attacks has been forced to permanently close down.

Even the presence of security guards has not been enough to save Shelfield
Library in Birch Lane which shut on a temporary basis at the start of this
month, putting the site's long term future into the balance.

Now council chiefs have made the decision to end a tradition of book lending
in the area stretching back decades.

Arrangements are being made to introduce a mobile library service into the
area while regular customers are being urged to use neighbouring libraries,
one of which is to open for an extra day each week.

The library has been plagued by a series of vandal attacks including a brick
wall being knocked down, while staff there have been constantly intimidated
by gangs of yobs running riot inside the building and throwing books around.


But the final straw was an arson attack on the building a few weeks ago when
vandals set fire to a wheelie bin, pushed it against the building and caused
thousands of pounds worth of damage as well as disturbing asbestos.

Today Councillor Garry Perry, Walsall's cabinet member for leisure, said it
would have proved too costly to repair the building in the face of the
continued threat of problems at the library.

"These vandals have continuously caused problems and have now caused the
library to close," he said.

"We are working hard to minimise the impact of the loss of the library to
local people in the Shelfield area."

Measures being introduced include extending the town's mobile library
service to include Shelfield where it will make its first visit between
10.30am and 12.30pm on March 30.

Book lovers in Shelfield are being urged to use nearby Rushall Library and
also the one in Pelsall which is opening for an extra day on Tuesdays with
immediate effect.

A book return bin is also being set up outside the closed down Shelfield
library.

http://www.expressandstar.com/

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