A man who didn’t want to see his local library go ‘to rack and ruin’ gathered over 1,000 signatures on a petition to keep the bustling base for books open.
Tariq Karamat, 45, from Bradford has used Laisterdyke Library, on Manse Street, since it opened in 1985 but budget cuts from the Government threatened to close it.
Determined not to lose a ‘valuable resource’ for the area, he made it his mission keep the site running, calling on the local community to back his demands.
He said: “I lead the fight to save this library. I went around the area, getting people to sign the petition.
“Firstly, I want to thank the schoolchildren. If it wasn’t for the kids we wouldn’t have saved the library.”
Children, parents and teachers from Lapage Primary School and Dixons Marchbank Primary were the ones who got involved in the initiative.
“I am very thankful to them,” Tariq added. “They managed to get over a thousand signatures between them.
“I also went around to the shops and stores in the area and they also signed. A huge thank you goes out to the local Mosques in the Bradford area who participated with the petition.”
The inclusive library, which serves the BD3 area of the city, has over 12,000 books and free internet access.
Tariq believes if it were to close, it would only have a negative impact on the local area.
He said: “I spoke in the Chamber of Meetings and said, ‘if you close this library down, the children will be missing out. Without a place to go, they will turn to crime on the street and could start smoking all kinds of strange stuff’.
“I lead the fight, the big wigs rethought it and the library has been saved. We cracked it, we did it, we smashed it.”
Tariq said if it wasn’t for ‘the big people’ like Councillor Mohammed Shafiq, Councillor Zafar Iqbar and MP Imran Hussain, the library would have been shut down.
“Being a private hire driver, I took time out of my job to fight for this cause. I did it for the kids and the elderly people who need these facilities,” said Tariq.