A legal fund set up by the Save Lincolnshire Libraries campaign group has just received a major donation of £1000 from The Library Campaign, the national charity dedicated to supporting public funded libraries.
The fund has been set up by campaigners to help Lincoln resident Simon Draper in his challenge of Lincolnshire County Council’s proposals to cut the library service by £2 million. The challenge will take place with a Judicial Review in the High Court in London on July 8 and 9. Full details of how to donate online and by post have just been added to the campaign blog at https://savelincslibraries.org.uk/donate/
Chair of The Library Campaign Laura Swaffield explained the reason for this sizeable donation:
“The Library Campaign works to support library users and groups. We’re happy to help Save Lincolnshire Libraries, because their campaign benefits all of us. Our experience indicates that Lincolnshire County Council’s planned cuts are unworkable and unnecessary. It’s a great pity it is not prepared to listen to local people and work with them, forcing them to mount a court case that nobody wants. The result will be of great interest to library supporters everywhere.”
Though Simon Draper is eligible for full legal aid, there is an expectation by the Legal Aid Agency that some funds are raised as part of an overall contribution to the costs of running the case. Therefore a fund has been established to meet the potential contribution of upwards of £7500. The new fund has been set up by the Lincolnshire campaign group to cover this shortfall. Any excess money will be donated to organisations supporting reading, books or public libraries
Simon Draper commented on this significant early donation: “To be given such a large sum by this highly respected national charity is just brilliant, a real boost for us and all 23,000 Lincolnshire people who signed petitions against the council’s plan, which was – don’t forget – the only way to say no to the proposals as the official consultation did not allow for a ‘no change’ response.
“When the Judicial Review goes ahead in July the Save Lincolnshire Libraries will have been campaigning for over a year, and they are all volunteers battling a fully funded council.
“We have rallied 400 people to march through Lincoln and most recently taking our message to Westminster and No 10 Downing street. We’ve gained the support of MPs from left and right as well as household names like Michael Morpurgo, Michael Rosen, Malorie Blackman, Mary Beard, Minnie Driver and Melvyn Bragg. This wonderful donation from The Library Campaign is a fantastic addition to a prestigious list of supporters.”
Julie Harrison of Save Lincolnshire Libraries added: “This amount of support from a national institution indicates the crucial nature of our campaign. People across the county have been horrified by the destruction of the Lincolnshire library service, and it’s now clear that people outside of Lincolnshire believe in our fight too. Now it is time for the people of Lincolnshire to stand up for their rights and tell the County Council to stop right now, as changes they insist on implementing – despite this imminent legal challenge on all counts – are causing irreversible damage to the service.”
People wanting to donate money to the new legal fund are asked to send cheques made payable to Save Lincolnshire Libraries to: The Farmhouse, East Row, South Somercotes, Louth, LN11 7BN.
Donations can also be made online via the campaign blog at https://savelincslibraries.org.uk/donate/.
It was back in March 2014 that the High Court granted permission for the application for judicial review of Lincolnshire County Council to go ahead. The challenge is being brought against the council’s proposals to cut the library service by £2 million.
The judge did not restrict the grounds of challenge, and therefore the four grounds will be considered by the High Court when the case is heard. The challenge argues:
- that the consultation was unlawful as the decision had already been taken
- that the Council failed to ensure that the harm that was going to be caused by their decision was prevented, as required by the Equality Act
- that the Council failed to properly consider the proposal by Greenwich Leisure Limited ( a not for profit agency who had bid to run the library service). As a result the Council had failed in its duties under the Localism Act (1)
- that if the cuts go ahead Lincolnshire’s Library Service will no longer be comprehensive and efficient and therefore will breach the national requirements.
The Library Campaign is an independent national organisation set up in 1984 to support Friends of Library groups and to campaign for improved services in publicly funded libraries. In March 2004 the campaign became a registered charity (no. 1102634).
Please click this link to read the Save Lincolnshire Libraries story so far: