Councillors in Rawdon have vowed to do all they can to keep a library for their community.

The three ward councillors are determined to do everything they can to ensure provision is maintained in the area, and they are meeting Leeds City Council’s officer in charge of libraries next week to discuss the proposed closure.

The proposed closure in Rawdon is one of 20 suggested across the city, and has been put forward in the council’s New Chapter for Libraries report.

The consultation exercise to look at the viability of the libraries was approved at an executive board meeting last month.

But it has been referred back for further consideration after a heated debate at a meeting of the council’s city development scrutiny board.

This week Guiseley & Rawdon councillor Graham Latty said he and fellow councillors Pat Latty and Paul Wadsworth would meet chief libraries, arts and heritage officer Catherine Blanchard to discuss the issue with a view to either stopping the closure or getting the best solution for local people.

“Any attempt to reduce the public access to books is a retrograde step,” he said.

Coun Latty argued that it was particularly important to have the facilities to encourage children to read.

“Any attempt to reduce access to that is totally wrong and misdirected,” he said. “We will do our best to make sure that first of all we don’t lose the library – and if there is any possibility that we don’t succeed in that we will be doing our very best to make sure we get replacement provision in some form.”

Coun Latty said the area had a lot of elderly people, many of whom would not be able to travel to a more centralised library.

Coun Pat Latty argued: “I know they say it is not being used to its full potential, but it is very useful for elderly people. Sometimes it is a social place – it has a lot more to it than just getting a book out.”

She stressed the importance too of ensuring that children had access to a local library.

“We are going to fight to keep the library,” she said. “I know computers are the thing at the moment but I do think that books are so important for children.”

Fellow ward councillor Paul Wadsworth said the library was safe in the short term because of the action taken to force the decision to be referred back to the executive board.

But he stressed: “We are committed to keeping a library in Rawdon – whether that be at its present site or not.”

He argued that proposed mobile provision would be inadequate and would not be a satisfactory replacement.

“We are committed to a fixed building in Rawdon and opposed to this mobile provision,” he said.

He said mobile provision was being ‘sold to people as a substitute’ but he argued that its stops in Rawdon would only be for ten minutes at a time.

He added: “Some of the libraries are in a poor condition and need a lot of money spending on them, but Rawdon is not in that position.”

A report to members of the council’s executive board last month said: “Over the last few years the people of Leeds have changed how they use the service and in 2009-10 out of the 4 million annual visits, 1.5 million were made to just four libraries and 2.8 million were made to just 13 libraries out of a total of 53 libraries. The uses people make of libraries and the times they want access are no longer met by the large number of small libraries with opening hours of less than 18 hours. Maintaining these libraries means that valuable resources go into stocking them with materials and computers and repairing and managing the buildings.

“As a result more than £1m worth of books is locked away for most of the week.”

The council says it is looking at replacing smaller poorly used libraries by extending and improving provision in the popular, large libraries.

Under the proposals a number, including Guiseley, Horsforth and Yeadon, are earmarked for longer opening hours.

At a full council meeting last week Coun John Procter, Conservative shadow spokesman for leisure and culture again called on the ruling Labour administration to re-think the plans to close 20 libraries across Leeds.