Broadcaster and author Melvyn Bragg has given his support to the Save Lincolnshire Libraries Campaign. In a statement issued to the campaign group, he says:
“I want to associate myself with those who are strongly opposed to the closing of 30 libraries and the removal of hundreds of Mobile Library stops in Lincolnshire. I came to Lincoln sometime ago to open a new extended Central Library and was completely exhilarated by what I saw and learned on that day. This I thought was Local Government and enlightenment at its finest.
“The Public Library system in this country is one of the finest achievements that we have, alongside the BBC and the British Museum. To close libraries is to close minds, especially young minds, and I do hope that the opposition to these plans will persuade the County Council to think again and reverse what could be an act of irreparable damage to the future of learning and the enrichment of minds.”
For campaigners this high profile support comes at just the right time, some 48 hours before the
“Big Library March” which will go through the centre of Lincoln this Saturday (September 21) from 12 noon, starting in Castle Square.
Campaigners hope the march will see hundreds of people from across the county represent their local branches under threat.
Campaigner Leah Warriner-Wood said: “In particular we are asking for families to bring their children dressed as book characters and also blow bubbles through the march, not just for fun but to also represent the 32, 500* children in Lincolnshire who will be without a statutory library nearby if the cuts go ahead. Libraries are vital to many people, but children we feel will be especially hard-hit by the proposed devastation of the county’s library service.”
The cuts planned for Lincolnshire are the worst in the UK to date. Libraries under threat include many around the city plus rural libraries at the heart of communities: Alford, Birchwood, Boultham, Bracebridge, Bracebridge Heath, Branston, Burgh le Marsh, Cherry Willingham, Coningsby, Crowland, Deepings, Donington, Ermine, Holbeach, Keelby, Kirton (Boston), Metheringham, Nettleham, North Hykeham, Pinchbeck, Ruskington, Scotter, Skellingthorpe, Spilsby, Sutton on sea, Wainfleet All Saints, Washingborough, Welton, Wragby & Caistor. Plus mobile stops would be reduced by 70% and 170 jobs lost. 20,000 Lincolnshire people have signed petitions against the cuts. It’s now down to nine (the council executive) to decide what happens after motions to involve the full council were narrowly defeated by a slim Conservation-Lib Dem majority in the County Council’s full meeting last week.
*How this statistic was reached: The Lincolnshire Research Observatory (who were used by Lincolnshire County Council (LCC) to compile data for their library needs assessment) suggests that the mid-2013 population figure for residents under 16 will be just under 125,000. LCC accepts that 26% of the entire population of Lincolnshire will be outside of reasonable reach of a statutory (tier 1 or 2) library, so 26% of 125,000 is 32,500 Lincolnshire children without access to a statutory library.