Save Lincolnshire Libraries take the campaign to Westminster

On Tuesday April 8th library campaigners from across Lincolnshire will be going to London to lobby the Prime Minister, the Government and MPs.

Save Lincolnshire Libraries will be taking a coach load of people to a meeting at the House of Commons to press their case to keep a proper library service in Lincolnshire.

The coach has four main pick up points at Mablethorpe, Louth, Lincoln, and the Deepings to enable people from across the county to join the campaign and travel to London to lobby MPs.

“What this is about is ensuring that our case is heard not only locally but at a national level. While we want the County Council to start talking to us about how a better library service can be delivered, the government and MP’s need to understand how important libraries are. They need to help us change the County Council’s mind and also ensure that libraries are maintained and developed in the future,” said Phil Dilks, spokesperson for Save Lincolnshire Libraries.

Anyone who would like to join in the campaign please contact Save Lincolnshire Libraries on 01507 358650 or email on sll@southsomercotes.fsnet.co.uk

For further information please contact Phil Dilks on 07786 862320

High Court proceedings begun challenging the decision by Lincolnshire County Council to cut Library Services

On Friday 31st January papers were sent to Lincolnshire County Council setting out details of a request for a Judicial Review, in the High Court, of the County Council’s decision on 3rd December 2013 to reduce its statutory Library Service.

The claim was filed in the High Court, London, on Wednesday 29th January 2014.

The request for a Judicial Review has been issued by Public Interest Lawyers, of Eight Hylton Street, Birmingham on behalf of Simon Draper of Lincoln.

The review is asking for the Court to issue an order quashing the Council’s decision to drastically reduce its library provision across the county, made on 3rd December.

The legal papers set out a number of grounds for this request.

  • First, that the consultation that preceded the decision was unlawful in that decisions had already been taken before the consultation began.
  • The second reason is that the Council failed to take due regard of its obligations under the Public Sector Equality Duty as required by the Equality Act 2010. The Council had already identified that disabled people, older people, young people and women (particularly mothers of young children), were going to be hit by their plans but failed to ensure that the harm this was going to cause was prevented.
  • In addition, it is claimed the Council failed to properly consider the proposal by Greenwich Leisure, a charitable social enterprise, to take over the whole Library Service whilst largely maintaining the library network.
  • The fourth ground is that, if the cuts go ahead, the County Council Library Service will no longer be a comprehensive and efficient library service, as required by the Public Libraries and Museums Act 1964.

Commenting on the request for a judicial review, Simon Draper said “Timber, who is disabled, and I are devastated that the County Council has decided to close many of the libraries. This will leave the local community with the loss of yet another safe place for young people to study quietly, to learn and for parents to help teach their children to read. Libraries are not just for collecting and returning books, they are part of the community and help cement it together.”

Paul Heron from Public Interest Lawyers said “Great credit should go to Simon for caring enough about the library service in Lincolnshire to bring this legal action. We hope to convince the court that as a matter of law the County Council have not acted correctly in the way they have conducted the consultation process and ignored the wishes of people in Lincolnshire. I would urge all to once again lobby their councillors and ask them not to make these cuts which will devastate the library service if they are carried out.”

Save Lincolnshire Libraries on behalf of all library users in Lincolnshire welcomes the request for a judicial review and is pleased that Simon Draper has taken this step. “We regret that Lincolnshire County Council is steam-rolling ahead with seriously flawed cuts to remove statutory provision for more than thirty libraries rather than listen to 25,000 council tax payers who have actively supported our campaign to Save Lincolnshire’s Libraries,” said Phil Dilks, spokesperson for Save Lincolnshire Libraries.

Want to share your views with those who have influence? Find out the contact details of your representative councillors and MPs by entering your postcode here, and let them know what you think https://www.writetothem.com/

SAVE LINCOLNSHIRE LIBRARIES 10.2.2014

Contact the group info@savelincslibraries.org.uk.

How you can help 

The library cuts in Lincolnshire have national implications (read this independent summary here: Lincolnshire Council’s consultation gets into further hot water … and has national implications), so we invite anyone who cares about public libraries in the UK to support us.

Follow us on Twitter @savelincslibs, Tweet your support and we will RT!

If you have more time and a blog, please write a blog post on your support of our campaign and Tweet us the link, again we will share this widely.

You can also share images from our Pinterest board here, or join our Facebook Group: facebook.com/groups/savelincslibraries

There’s still time for Martin Hill to change course

Library campaigners are holding a protest tomorrow on the last weekend before a final decision is taking on massive library cuts in Lincolnshire.

Nick Parker, anti-cuts campaigner, said:

“We will not give up the fight until we have saved every single library service and every single job.

“Our county-wide campaign to save Lincolnshire libraries has enjoyed massive support over the last few months, and there is still time for Martin Hill et al to change course.”

Join us in protest on Saturday 30th November from 12:30 at Lincoln Central library!

Public meeting in Grantham tonight

GranthamPUBLIC MEETING 16 SEPTEMBER

On Monday 16 September at 7:30 pm there will be a public meeting at the Newton Room, Guildhall Arts Centre examining the proposals. All Labour Members welcome. Please show your support and solidarity with those facing the loss of their libraries. Grantham Library will lose 5 hours opening.

Councillors, Unison and concerned members of the public are fighting County Council Proposals to slash public library services across Lincolnshire. Hundreds of mobile stops will be lost and only 15 out of 45 public libraries will remain.

The impact on the area around Grantham is as follows:-

The scale of cuts becomes clear when we examine the impact on villages surrounding Grantham alone:-

  • Aisby, Allington, Barkston, Carlton Scroop, Denton, Frieston, Fulbeck, Gelston, Hougham, Holby, Ingoldsby, Lenton, Little Ponton, Manthorpe, Marston, Oasby, Old Somerby, Skillington, Stubton, Swayfield, Swinstead, Syston and Welby, are set to lose their mobile service altogether with residents only being offered a phone home service instead though housebound people may receive additional help.
  • Corby Glen will have mobile services reduced.
  • Ancaster, Barrowby, Colsterworth, and Long Bennington will receive an improved mobile service. There is no change to services at Caythorpe and Ropsley.
  • Many villages around Sleaford are also losing their services and some residents may prefer to come to Grantham’s library.

The County hope, as with Grantham Museum, volunteers will step forward to run libraries. They have been advising interested groups to form Public Ltd companies for expediency. Some may form charities.

Full details of the proposals are available on the County Council website: http://www.lincolnshire.gov.uk/residents/discover-libraries/libraries-consultation/

There is a Lincolnshire County Council public consultation which is currently taking place and ends on 30 September. In addition Save Lincolnshire’s Libraries is gathering petition signatures to oppose the cuts. The cuts will be debated in County Full Council this week but the final decision re

The County Communities Scrutiny Committee refused to endorse the proposals.
The final say will rest with the County Cabinet members only, although members of the Labour Group will be arguing that the decision should sit with Full Council.

JOIN THE PROTESTS IN LINCOLN
On 21 September there will be a protest march in Lincoln. Come dressed as your favourite book character.

SIGN THE ONLINE PETITION
Please refer to the Save Lincolnshires Libaries website to sign the online petition.
COMPLETE THE COUNTY COUNCIL’S SURVEY
Let them know what you think.
HELP WITH THE PETITION NEEDED in GRANTHAM
Petition sessions in Morrisons Centre and ASDA are being planned. Details of dates will be available ASAP.
HELP PROMOTE THE SCHOOLS COMPETITION
A competition for local schools has been organised by Save Lincs Libraries and sponsored by Unison.
For full details of the proposals and campaign please go to the Save Lincs Libraries website on:-
Please contact Charmaine Morgan for details on 07429 334260 or 01476 574748.

Meeting tomorrow: SAVE HORNCASTLE LIBRARY!

Monument

To discuss a response to Lincolnshire County Council’s proposals to cut Horncastle Library’s opening hours in half (as a “Tier 2” library), cut library staff in Horncastle, cut mobile library services in the Horncastle area, and close libraries across Lincolnshire.

Representatives of Lincolnshire County Council, Lincolnshire Libraries & Heritage, Horncastle Town Council, and Save Lincolnshire Libraries will attend to discuss the town’s response to the council’s proposal.

Useful links:

Five things that you can do to help save Horncastle Library from cuts

  1. Support and use Horncastle Library!
  2. Attend the meeting on Thursday, 11th August – commencing 7pm.
  3. Encourage family and friends to sign our petition (available in Houlden’s, High Street, Horncastle) to trigger a proper debate at Lincolnshire County Council.
  4. Send individual emails to those who can decide or influence the future of Horncastle Library as a properly funded and professionally staffed library:
  5. Write letters to the editor for publication in the Horncastle News.

Lincolnshire Schools Competition

Over 200 County schools have been invited to join a Save Lincolnshire Libraries competition to enable local school children to express to County Council cabinet members ‘what my library means to me’.

Depending on age group, the children will be asked to provide either a picture or poster, a poem or a letter.

Prizes to be provided by Unison. Please contact Charmaine Morgan with enquiries on 01476 574748 or email: charmaine725@btinternet.com

Lincolnshire County Council is currently holding a public consultation, which ends on 30 September 2013. The proposals in it will have far reaching and irreversible consequences for the future of library services across Lincolnshire. In a bid to save £2m from the library budget the County Council Executive plan to reduce the number of villages receiving a mobile library service from 400 communities to only 126. Of those remaining many face cuts to their services, with a few receiving an increase.

Local libraries face equally draconian cuts with only 15 out of 47 libraries remaining open. We saw significant reductions at library centres when hours were cut three years ago during an earlier swathe of reductions.

Competition to access key library services including computer use and book lending will increase as villagers are forced to travel, whether they can afford to, or not. Where villages are set to lose their mobile service altogether some residents are being offered a phone home service instead though housebound people may receive additional help. This has not been fully costed out in the proposals. Some villages will retain mobile services but they will be reduced. Only a limited number of villages will receive an improved mobile service or see no change.

Rural children, unable to travel themselves, will be particularly affected by the proposals. Those living near libraries which remain open will see increased competition for access to computers and book lending. The County Council hope volunteers will step in to save some of the libraries under threat but previous experience has shown, whilst this can be successful it is not always. This high risk proposal offers no guarantee of ongoing service and there will be no public accountability should the libraries change hands.

Save Lincolnshire Libraries is a county wide campaign group working with people from all communities to oppose these cuts.

Save Lincolnshire Libraries urges people across Lincolnshire to stand united to oppose the cuts.

We believe our children should be able to say what their library means to them. Their voices should be heard as such an important decision affecting our library service, which has taken a hundred years to build, is made.

Save Lincolnshire Libraries will be holding a competition across all of Lincolnshire’s schools during September 2013. The competition details themselves have been devised by a former school deputy head and teacher, David and Carol Taylor. Unison have kindly agreed to sponsor three prizes at each stage for our school children and the details are outlined below. Where possible we have attempted to tie the competition in with the National Curriculum. The winning entries will be available on the Save Lincolnshire Libraries website and may be reproduced for campaign purposes.

Maximum size for all entries: A4
Poems and letters may be decorated
Prizes (book tokens for 1st, 2nd, 3rd places) will be provided by UNISON for each year entry group which are:

  • Reception – Age 4-5:  Picture
  • Years 1 and 2 – Age 5-7: Picture/Poster
  • Years 3 and 4 – Ages 7-9: Poem
  • Years 5 and 6 – Ages 9-11: Poem or Letter
  • Year7 onward – 11 onwards: Letter

Please attach or write on reverse of entry: child’s name, age, year group and school of entrant
Closing Date: All entries must be at the address below by 23rd September 2013 to:-

Save Lincolnshire Libraries
c/o Cllr Charmaine Morgan
45 Harrowby Road
Grantham
NG31 9ED

Please refer all queries to Charmaine on 01476 574748 or email charmaine725@btinternet.com

All of the children’s work will be forwarded to the Cabinet members involved in the final decision.

With grateful thanks in anticipation,
Charmaine Morgan, Save Lincolnshire Libraries

North Hykeham Town Council unanimous in supporting library fight

At their regular meeting (on the 5th of September), North Hykeham Town Councillors voted unanimously to support the town and county’s residents in campaigning against the closure of county libraries. North Hykeham library is among those designated as ‘tier three’ facilities which could be closed in favour of a volunteer-led or mobile service, under Lincolnshire County Council’s plans to save £2million from the libraries’ budget.

Cllr Peter Dixon, who proposed the motion to North Hykeham’s council, said:

“North Hykeham Town Council opposes the proposed closure of the town’s library. Furthermore, this Council supports the campaign being fought by local residents and library users to have our library reclassified correctly as a Tier two facility and therefore be exempt from the threat of closure. North Hykeham Town Council, with the support of library users, will also examine the possibility of taking over ownership of the library with a view to keeping it open at its current location and being manned by paid staff.”

In adding its voice to that of the campaigners, North Hykeham Town Council joins head of North Kesteven District Council Cllr Marion Brighton and MP for Gainsborough Sir Edward Leigh, who have also spoken out against Lincolnshire County Council’s plans.

Local campaigner Leah Warriner-Wood (31) added:

“As a campaigner for both North Hykeham library and libraries throughout the county, I’m heartened by the town council’s support of the cause. Though I live in North Hykeham, the Save Lincolnshire Libraries campaign I’m supporting is about keeping all libraries open, because to suggest that one community is somehow more deserving of its library than another is to take the county council’s flawed perspective. Having the support of our town council in this in the local government arena will be useful to myself and my fellow campaigners in our efforts, and I am grateful to the town council for their show of solidarity, and their community-mindedness on this issue.”

Mrs Warriner-Wood will also be speaking on behalf of Save Lincolnshire Libraries and formally delivering their petition to the Chairman of Lincolnshire County Council at their full council meeting next Friday (September 13). A public Save Lincolnshire Libraries demonstration to coincide with the meeting will be held outside County Offices on Newland, Lincoln from 9am on that day. A further public demonstration, marching through Lincoln, will be held on Saturday September 21 from 12noon.

Save Lincolnshire Libraries:

North Hykeham Town Council:

An open letter from a 90-year old Lincolnshire resident to his councillor

Dear Councillor Keimach,

I write to you in regard to the County Council’s irrational proposals for the future of the County Council Library Service.  There are many things wrong with these proposals.

They ignore the trained professional and dedicated service currently given by the present retained library staff.  Proposals to replace them with untrained and in some cases unsuitable, if well meaning, volunteers and/or commercial retailers whose prime objective (quite properly) is to attract customers to their main line business, not necessarily in the best interests of providing an adequate and proper library service.

Councillor Worth, who claims to speak for the local Conservative Party, lays stress in his press statements on the trend towards on-line availability of literature.  There is much wrong with this, a very small proportion of the population own or wish to own this service, of them the majority express a preference for “proper books”, (see the Sunday Times survey figures).

Councillor Worth’s presentation of the statistics regarding library use ignores the significant numbers of Playgroups, Schools, Other groups and the less privileged who attend our present libraries (see many local press references).  Currently children are much encouraged to enjoy the written word and to improve their literacy skills by attending library run activities.  The less privileged are enabled to receive basic instruction in the use of and access to internet services.   Perhaps it may be true that an minority of the population make direct use of libraries but this is equally true of many council services e.g. Primary Schools and Leisure Centres, do we have to expect that these too will ultimately be decimated  in the cause of economy?

Councillor Worth claims that with the new proposals a library will be within thirty minutes of public transport access.  This ignores totally time for accessing the bus stop, access from the bus stop to the library and the difficulties of matching return home times after the visit.  For many a visit to the library will become a major undertaking.

By all means examine sensibly how services may be less expensively provided but the County Council has a clear and positive responsibility to provide a comprehensive and worthwhile library service.  I note that our Local Member of Parliament and also the Leader of the ELDC concur with this view.

I approach my 90th birthday and have been an active Conservative all my life but I sadly have to make clear that if Councillor Worth truly represents the policies of the Conservative group both now and in the future that I shall not support my local party or any of its candidates. I find it sad that the group should do undermine the splendid example set for it by Sir Edward Leigh.

Yours sincerely,

Stan Perry

Copies to Sir Edward Leigh

Market Rasen Mail

Lincolnshire Echo

Grimsby Telegraph