With thanks to Julie Harrison for allowing us to publish her letter to the Lincolnshire Echo
This has been a shameful week for Lincolnshire. As the UK watches the County Council cut the Library Service by 40%, despite the pending Judicial Review, I have to ask how much are we going to regret this in the future?
Last year there were over 5 million transactions between the library service and its clients! This vast number cannot take account of all the thousands of people who entered a library for a function other than borrowing an item or using the computers. Is this not evidence enough that this essential front-line service should not be cut by nearly half?
Why has the County Council not listened to the 23,000 who signed the petition against closures; the 900 who wrote comments about the importance of libraries or the Members of Parliament who have overtly stated that these cuts should not take place?
I wonder why the 77 councillors in the County Council, all elected by constituents, not given a voice through a free vote? It would have been valuable, in a democracy, for the electorate to see how their elected representative had voted.
Now we are told that there must be a huge cut in library hours and mobile library stops because there are no longer the members of staff to deliver appropriate provision. Why were staff taken through a redundancy procedure prior to the Judicial Review? What is the County Council’s plan for recruitment should the decision go against them?
Libraries are absolutely vital for children and students, the self employed and job seekers, newcomers and those who live alone or who are isolated, the disabled and the elderly not to mention those with hobbies or who read for pleasure. Indeed, essential for everyone! A public library system is the mark of a civilized society.
I love living in Lincoln and I am proud of Lincolnshire as a whole, but I am ashamed of what has happened here this week.
This letter was published in The Lincolnshire Echo on the 15/05/2014
Update yourself on the Lincolnshire Campaign:
Click here to read The Save Lincolnshire Libraries Story so Far…
(1) #Lobby4Libraries – read about our day in Westminster and visit to No 10 Downing Street.
(2) FULL JUDICIAL REVIEW TO GO AHEAD Lincolnshire: Full Judicial Review of Library Service to go ahead The judge did not restrict the grounds of challenge, and therefore the 4 grounds will be considered by the High Court when the case is heard.
(3) LETTER TO THE SECRETARY OF STATE A former Assistant Director at Lincolnshire County Council has written to The Rt. Hon Maria Miller MP, former Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport to formally request that she intervene and order an urgent inquiry into the changes being made by the County Council to the Lincolnshire library service. Update, letter now sent to Sajid Javid, Maria Miller’s replacement.
(4) Click here to read about the day when Helen Goodman MP (Shadow Minister for Libraries) visited campaigners at Ermine Library, 15 April.
(5) Click here to read extensive press coverage of our #BigLibraryMarch in September 2013
(6) Our growing page of comments from communities taking the volunteer library route https://savelincslibraries.org.uk/2014/02/10/community-groups-give-real-reason-for-saving-libraries/
(7) The Consultation – Click here to open the full PDF of the consultation report where people completely condemn the council’s plans and their consultation: SHU-Libraries-Consultation-Final-Report-31-October-2013 (2). Click here to read: Our response to the consultation findings