CONCERNS have been raised over the future of libraries in Redbridge after it emerged that two-thirds of library card holders in Woodford Green are not using them.

Research by Cllr Paul Canal revealed just 3,000 of the 10,000 cardholders registered with Woodford Green Library in Snakes Lane West have borrowed an item in the last year.

And only 1,300 of the 3,300 Woodford Green members of South Woodford Library in High Road have used their card in the last 12 months.

Libraries have been closed in other parts of London as councils look to reduce costs due to the squeeze on public spending.

So far the service in Redbridge has escaped cuts, but the low usage rates have raised fears that the service could be reduced in the future.

Author Joe Layburn, who is a teacher at Bancroft’s Preparatory School in High Road, Woodford Green, called on residents to help protect libraries.

“The most important thing to say is ‘use it or lose it’. The council will make cuts if people don’t use their libraries,” he said.

Mr Layburn added that libraries play a vital role in helping children’s development and serve as important community hubs and aids to study.

“Books fire their imagination and open up new worlds for them, it makes them more creative,” he said. Cllr Paul Canal, also urged residents to borrow a book.

He said: “Libraries are a natural home for young people not only for research but to read and grow as people. We need to make sure more people use them.

We’re committed to preserving libraries but our task is made easier if they are used more.”

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