AN appeal for imaginative ways of saving Darlington's library services will be made at a public meeting this week.

Arts organisation Darlington for Culture (DfC) has organised the event to discuss ideas for maintaining Crown Street Library, Cockerton Library and the mobile library service, which are threatened as part of borough council cutbacks.

DfC believes the closure decision should be delayed by the council to allow a "more considered approach involving the wider community".

The organisation is working on a plan called Another Way, which it describes an alternative vision for the library service rather than closures.

The Another Way meeting will take place at 7pm on Thursday, April 7 at the Forum Music Centre, in Borough Road.

It will be chaired by Nigel Burton, assistant editor of The Northern Echo, which is running its own campaign to save the libraries.

The event is part of a two-pronged DfC campaign.

The first is to protest about the plans - the group staged a street protest on March 12 outside Crown Street Library which attracted close to 1,000 people.

The second strategy is to explore ways of involving the community in the service.

DfC is also throwing its support behind The Northern Echo’s online petition for a Parliamentary debate on the spending targets that necessitated cuts to important services.

However, volunteers say they do not believe the council should be absolved from blame, saying they are unconvinced that the proposed replacement library in the Dolphin Centre will be an adequate replacement.

Chair John Dean said: “The protest on March 12 gave people a chance to show much they care about the libraries but we believe that there needs to be a broader, imaginative discussion about how the community and the library service can work together for an alternative solution to this ill-considered proposal.

“Ideally, we want the closure proposals scrapped but we are also exploring opportunities to run the service in a different way if that becomes necessary.

“The thousands of people who rely on the library service deserve better from their councillors than a simple decision to close libraries and the event on April 7 will explore Another Way. We urge people to attend to offer their thoughts.”

Anyone interested in exploring alternatives to closure are also asked to contact DfC on

More on the organisation can be found at