I refer to the recent press release from Lincolnshire County Council concerning the Judicial Review of the library service.
[in this statement council leader Martin Hill states they are “consulting our lawyers regarding the recovery of our costs.” click here to read in full Council to seek costs for campaigners’ failed libraries challenge]
Here they had the chance to move forward and away from chastising local residents, taxpayers and campaigners who had the effrontery to challenge the decisions of our elected members. Instead they continue to threaten, bully and criticise those people who dare question what they do.
It is worth remembering that they lost the first Judicial Review and had to pay over £100,000 of our money for the mistakes they made. They did not pay it out of their own pockets.
They also produced an audit listing all the mistakes they made which resulted in the first Judicial Review. It is a catalogue of disasters.
They have repeatedly ignored the views of Lincolnshire residents expressed in the Council’s own Consultation ( where they admit they had already made up their minds on the future of the library service) and via online petitions and a whole book of comments from residents. Even some Conservative MPs disagreed with them.
They have now pushed through their own option for the future of libraries. There are already some question marks about the continuation of some ( Coningsby/Tattershall, Washingborough, Skellingthorpe, Donington, Crowland ).
However, there could be a silver lining. Despite the fact that at the decision making Executive meetings two Councillors admitted that they have not used libraries for decades, whilst another insisted that children no longer read and/or want books, the County Council does seem to have thought again about the needs of some local residents. In particular, I would single out those libraries in Ermine, Boultham and Birchwood, which are now being managed by paid staff, as well as eventually by volunteers. They are called “community hubs and libraries”. They are being managed by “Learning Communities “ which is a not-for- profit organisation, part funded by the County Council.
Perhaps someone, somewhere has listened, because they exemplify the calibre of service many people expect and deserve from their local libraries, especially in areas where people are more vulnerable.
Maurice Nauta, Hazel Burnett and Julie Harrison
Save Lincolnshire Libraries Campaign