Gateshead Council's all-Labour Cabinet has agreed to consider closing Whickham Library as part of a cost-cutting exercise aimed at saving £700,000 from the library service by 2018.
4 options for making savings have been put out to consultation but only one of them includes keeping open Whickham Library. All the options include branch closures within the borough. Currently, Gateshead has the Central Library at Saltwell and 4 area libraries - Whickham, Blaydon, Birtley and Leam Lane.
In addition, there are smaller neighbourhood libraries at Pelaw, Chopwell, Rowlands Gill, Wrekenton, Crawcrook and Felling.
There are also 6 libraries which were previously part of the council's branch network but which are now run by volunteers with support from the council. There is also a mobile library but 3 of the 4 options propose its discontinuation.
"Whickham is the second most used library in Gateshead and the services provided are more than just lending books," said Kevin McClurey, Lib Dem campaigner in Dunston Hill and Whickham East. "Many community groups use the building and its closure could mean the loss of many community activities."
"We have fought hard to ensure Whickham Village is prosperous despite being squeezed by the Metrocentre, Blaydon and Newcastle," said Peter Craig, Lib Dem Councillor in Whickham North and Swalwell.
"The Library brings many people into the Village who then use the opportunity to use local busnesses. Take away the Library and fewer people will come to the village. That could cost businesses dearly. If they close, the Council could lose more money than is saved as Gateshead owns the shops at St Mary's and will lose rent if businesses fold."
"It's not just local community groups that rely on Whickham Library," said Lib Dem Councillor for Whickham South and Sunniside, Marilynn Ord. "Six local schools rely on Whickham for library services. Closure could affect the education of local children."