This is an open letter from key campaigner for Lincolnshire Libraries, Maurice Nauta, who was a senior manager in the library service and several other frontline services in the county, from 1988 to 2002.
The M.P. responsible for libraries (Ed Vaizey) released a far reaching Review of libraries just before Christmas, having sat on it for two months. Our County Council has gone one better, leaving it until the last Full Council of the year (19th December) to push through a vote removing the “option for a petition to trigger a debate at Council”. You may remember that 23,000 Lincolnshire tax payers and voters signed a petition against the County Council’s proposals to close libraries unless volunteers came forward, and there was a debate as a result of that and two other similar petitions.
Previously, any petition with 3,500 signatures would automatically trigger a 15-minute full council debate. This new move means a spokesperson will be allowed five minutes to speak about the petition at a full council meeting, with no requirement for councillors to discuss what is said.
Like Ed Vaizey’s attempt with the Review, Councillor Hill expects this to get under the radar. However, it is far too important a part of our democracy to let go . I would remind all residents that this is the same County Council alliance of Conservatives and Lib Dems who have demonstrated their take on democracy by refusing to listen to thousands of us who opposed their proposals in last summer’s consultation; refused to listen when we pointed out the mistakes they had made with the Consultation and their closed mindedness; refused to listen to our lawyers before the High Court Judicial Review, and still refuse to listen to the High Court Judge’s ruling that their decision is quashed.
Remember also that the Council’s Executive meets to discuss the future shape of our library service on the 3rd February. What hope is there for a change of heart from those nine councillors? There is also a Special Scrutiny Committee which will debate the library service before this meeting. It takes place on 27th January, in the morning. Whether or not you support libraries, I would encourage anyone who wants a Council which is democratic to see for themselves how our elected representatives work. Turn up at the meetings, watch and listen.
Maurice Nauta, Nettleham
More on our campaign:
Inside the Judicial Review, July 2014. We have two reports from people who were in the high court during the review. Click here our campaigner’s report, and click here for the report of the chair of The Library Campaign.
Click here to read The Save Lincolnshire Libraries Story so Far…
#Lobby4Libraries – read about our day in Westminster and visit to No 10 Downing Street.
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.
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.
Click here to read about the day when Helen Goodman MP (Shadow Minister for Libraries) visited campaigners at Ermine Library, 15 April.
Click here to read extensive press coverage of our #BigLibraryMarch in September 2013
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