Historians have reacted with anger to proposals to close Croydon's Local Studies Library - their comments are below.

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Brian Roote, local historian, said: “I am apalled. I understand the position they find themselves in but there are some useless clerks and 'officials' at vastly inflated salaries who would not be missed.

“They have accepted the archives and undertaken to safeguard them and they should accept their responsibilities. What do they propose doing with them?

“We would be lost without the local studies library, it is that simple.”

Frank Anderson, chairman of the Croydon Airport Society, said: “This is dreadful. The council’s decision is one of concern. This will affect opportunities for research, not just in my own specialist field but also in other fields of the history of Croydon.

“The council has to make a lot of important financial decisions which will affect people. You can see why they have gone for a relatively soft target like the local studies library. The same goes for the museum. The staff in the Local studies Library are always extremely helpful and very efficient.”

Melvyn Harrison, the chair of the Crystal Palace Foundation, said: “If they closed all of these services, there would be nothing left in the clocktower, it would just be an empty shell.

“Croydon are going to look a bit sad if they are the only people doing this. To go down this drastic route would be a hit to the face.”

John Gent, local historian and author, said: “I have donated quite a few things to the local studies library to save cost to the town. It would be ridiculous to close it altogether. This seems to be a very retrograde step. The service is very important. The museum plays a particular role in getting children in their heritage.

“The local studies library is important for those trying to record the history of our borough.”

Steve Palmer, Chairman, The Old Croydonians' Association, said: “ We represent past pupils of the Selhurst and Borough schools. We have a vast range of historical material held in the local studies' archives. Chris Bennett has provided a first class service in storing these materials, advising us on, and managing our, Selhurst-schools related queries.

“I'm disappointed and somewhat alarmed that we may lose access to these valuable resources currently held.”

Adrian Falks, a history enthusiast who uses the Local Studies weekly, said: “I would like to emphasise if local studies is closed or access restricted, the Samuel Coleridge Taylor centenary is in 22 months time and the major repository for his work is in Local Studies. Many of these items were donated by W C Berwick-Sayers. He was a major figure in the Public Libraries field, as well as a former chief librarian of Croydon. He was Samuel Coleridge Taylor’s first biographer.

“The Centenary Commemorations will be disastrously flawed if Local Studies - the custodians of this collection - is closed. Furthermore, after 2012, there will not be another significant anniversary in the Composer's life to celebrate until the Sesquicentennial Year in 2025 - a gap of thirteen years.”