Lincolnshire County Council has published plans to implement its unlawful decision of December 2013 to close thirty libraries unless volunteers take them over. This not only ignores the High Court judgement of July 2014 that quashed this decision but also the Localism Act which gives charities and social enterprises opportunities to run local services.
The council proposal can be viewed here.
A number of good ideas have come forward both before and after 3rd December 2013 on how the libraries can be better run, can have an improved book supply, can be better value for Lincolnshire and at the same time ensure that libraries remain open with professional and paid staff supported by volunteers.
All of these have been ignored by the County Council. The six months since the decision in the High Court to quash the Council Decision to close 30 Libraries has been completely misused by the Council. Huge amounts of officer time and the efforts of organisations like Save Lincolnshire Libraries and other individuals, who genuinely wanted to improve things, have been completely wasted.
What the political administration has done is to go through the motions of appearing to consider alternatives while trying to find a way to implement its destructive decision – which was taken before the whole consultation farce started in June 2013.
The leading politicians have deceived the people of Lincolnshire into thinking that they could influence anything. They have wasted huge amounts of public money trying to cover their tracks. It has been an astonishing misuse of political power.
Not only that, to carry on with cutting the library service would be a totally false economy with an adverse effect on other aspects of the council’s remit. Education standards will fall and older people will find their quality of life reduced which will impact on health and social care. Libraries are a golden thread that runs through the life of the whole community.
When are we going to have politicians in charge in Lincolnshire who are prepared to stand up for ordinary people and the public services that they value?
Why can’t the current administration hear what thousands of people across the county have been saying for 18 months now – that actually they value libraries and want them run by professional and paid staff for the benefit of local people?
Spokesperson for SLL, Julie Harrison says, “Throughout this process, SLL has always highlighted the value of public libraries. As one leading politician, President Obama, has said ‘More than a building that houses books and data, the library has always been a window to a larger world – a place we’ve always come to discover big ideas and profound concepts…… And so the moment we persuade a child, any child, to cross that threshold into a library, we’ve changed their lives forever and for the better.’ Save Lincolnshire Libraries will continue to fight for a library service run by professional and paid staff, with the support of volunteers, across the county.”
Please also read:
LIBRARY VOLUNTEERS IN CRISIS The volunteers the council is replying on for their plan are already in crisis. No group is taking on their library willingly and several have already withdraw plans, we’ve collated many community group comments and are seeking more https://savelincslibraries.org.uk/volunteer-crisis/
JUST PUBLISHED: Deepings Campaigner writes to his MP asking for Secretary of State intervention in Lincs Library Crisis https://savelincslibraries.org.uk/2015/01/16/campaigner-writes-to-his-mp-asking-for-secretary-of-state-intervention-in-lincs-library-crisis/
JUST PUBLISHED: IND COUNCILLOR STEPHEN PALMER’S OPEN LETTER https://savelincslibraries.org.uk/2015/01/16/cllr-stephen-palmers-open-letter-re-lincolnshire-library-crisis/
JUST PUBLISHED: LINCOLNSHIRE LABOUR PARTY PRESS ON LATEST EVENTS RELEASE https://savelincslibraries.org.uk/2015/01/16/labour-the-fight-to-save-lincolnshire-libraries-goes-on-despite-out-of-touch-tory-arrogance/