AN Ilkley councillor has called on Bradford Council to secure the future of Ilkley Library.

Councillor Kyle Green (Con, Ilkley) spoke at the Council Executive meeting at Bradford City Hall on Tuesday to demand that Bradford Council prioritise securing library services, which are currently due to see a £1million spending cut, before spending over £1.4million on a 2025 City of Culture bid.

In recent weeks, Ilkley Library has frequently had to close early, shutting one day at noon instead of 7pm.

Cllr Green said the closures were due to staff shortages and added that Bradford Council have made it clear they will not hire new library staff, with trainee staff averaging a salary of around £23,000 per year. In contrast to this, he said, Bradford Council is hiring a person to manage the City of Culture bid at a cost of £70,000 per year, enough money to pay three trainee library staff.

Cllr Green said: “Last week our library was shut for nearly two days. On one occasion it shut at 12 noon when it should have shut at 7pm.

“I personally had to change my plans and wasn’t able to take my daughter to get her next bookstart bear stamp by taking out more books because of this. “In exam season this would have been devastating to the dedicated and hard working Ilkley Grammar School students who use the library to study for upcoming exams.”

Speaking at the executive, Councillor Green praised the incredible culture that is present in the district, highlighting the Dragon Boat Festival, Ilkley Literature Festival as well as the National Media Museum as wonderful examples of the cultural offering of the Bradford district. He then highlighted that all these offerings continue to thrive without the need to immediately commit to spending £1.4million on a gamble to make Bradford the 2025 City of Culture.

*Library and museum in Bradford are to be balloted for strike action over what Unite the union has dubbed “swingeing cuts”. The ballot opens on Friday and closes on September 27.