All the reasons you should intervene, Dear Secretary of State

This blog post includes the text of:

A) Press Statement B) Letter from Maurice Nauta to the Secretary of State 

Also included within the letter, as attachments for download:

– Tim Coates Submission 
– Witness Statement to the 2014 Judicial Review – Councillor Karen Lee 
– Assistant Head, Wendy Carrick’s, Statement – April 2015
– Lincoln City Council – Evidence of Poverty in Lincoln: 2011

A) PRESS STATEMENT

Former Head of Lincolnshire Libraries, Maurice Nauta, a leading figure in the Save Lincolnshire Libraries campaign, has responded to the Secretary of State for Culture who, by means of a letter to Councillor Hill dated 26th March, notified that a ‘provisional’ decision not to intervene has been taken. (Read more on this here: #WritetoVaizey)

Because the decision is provisional, intervention from the Secretary of State has not yet been ruled out. Maurice, as the complainant, was therefore asked to respond with further evidence to support his claim that the Secretary of State should intervene. The additional information, which is – to the best of his knowledge – accurate and compelling, is set out in a formal letter that was delivered to the Secretary of State at the Department of Culture, Media and Sport on the 23rd of April.

It includes reference to the areas of highest deprivation in Lincolnshire, where a proportion of the public libraries facing closure (or relegation to what the council describes as ‘Tier-3’ status) are located. Maurice also supplies further data on all the threatened libraries which, he believes, supports the contention that access for many to a public library will be rendered very difficult or impossible under the council’s proposals, with particular reference to journey-times.

Tim Coates, former Managing Director of Waterstones and a prominent advocate for libraries, has provided a submission in support which accompanies the letter. In it Mr Coates analyses the council’s proposals and suggests that they fail to meet statutory requirements.

Other pertinent information is also supplied which, it is hoped, will assist the Secretary of State’s understanding and lead him to determine that an Inquiry is appropriate. We emphasise that Maurice’s letter includes considerably more detail and legal argument than that mentioned above.

Citing all the new arguments and evidence he has presented, Maurice concludes his letter by urging the Secretary of State to reconsider his provisional decision and requests that a Local Inquiry be launched.

We take the opportunity here to salute the 900 Lincolnshire residents who bore testimony as to how the changes to library provision will materially affect them. These statements are recorded on our website. We trust they will be pleased to note that a small selection of these features in the letter to the Secretary of State.

B) LETTER FROM MAURICE NAUTA 

You can download the letter as a PDF here Maurice Nauta Dear Secretary of State – Letter April 2015 or read it below:

To The Rt Hon Sajid Javid MP, Secretary of State, 22nd April 2015

Dear Mr Sajid Javid

Request for local inquiry into library provision in Lincolnshire (Ref: CMS 264190/asg)

I refer to the letter of 26th March from the Culture Minister to Councillor Hill of Lincolnshire County Council (to whom a copy of this letter has been sent), in which the Minister has advised on your behalf that in context of your powers of investigation and intervention under the Public Libraries and Museums Act 1964 (‘the 1964 Act’), and given the information available to you at the time, you are not currently minded to intervene in Lincolnshire.

You have requested that I respond with further evidence, the provision of which is the purpose of this Letter.

Your Department will be aware that, on the 20th inst. I submitted a request under the Freedom of Information Act, asking for details about how your Provisional Decision was reached.

The criteria for DCMS Interventions are based on an “analysis of existing and projected local need for the public library service” which “may include matters such as deprivation indices, rural/urban context, and consideration of vulnerable groups such as the unemployed, elderly, disabled, children and young people, and young families.”
Source: OldCulture.gov – What We Do: Libraries

I set out below additional evidence to support my case that decisions under way for the restructure of public library provision in Lincolnshire are in breach of the County Council’s duty to provide a comprehensive and efficient library service pursuant to Section 7 of the 1964 Act (interpreted in light of the Human Rights Act 1998 (‘the 1998 Act’) and Article 2 of the First Protocol to the European Convention on Human Rights – Right to Education).

1.  DEPRIVED AREAS

It is clear from the Wirral Report and from Ed Vaizey’s Early Day Motion (Jan 2009) that two of the 15 libraries marked for closure by Wirral council served “two of the most disadvantaged communities in the UK”.  Ed Vaizey called the closures “cost-driven vandalism”.   It is also clear, from the Church Urban Fund Parish Profiles and from campaigners’ own research that significant areas of deprivation exist in England.

The Welsh government has recognised the particular need for libraries in deprived areas by making available £2.7m of Welsh government funding to help ensure they are accessible to all, particularly to those from more deprived areas.  Source: BBC News Wales – Help for museum and library access in Wales: 17th April 2015

I draw your attention hereunder to deprived areas in the county of Lincolnshire, specifically those whose libraries are earmarked for closure or relegation to ‘Tier-3’ status.

1.1  PROPOSED ‘TIER-3’ LIBRARIES – IN AREAS OF DEPRIVATION IN LINCOLNSHIRE – & THEIR PROXIMITY TO SCHOOLS

The ‘Most deprived’ quartile is shown in bold type.  Ranking is out of 12,660 where 1 is least deprived.  The following libraries fall into areas of the ‘Most deprived’ quartile:
Source: The Church Urban Fund Parish Profiles
Additional Source:  Campaigner contact made with primary schools affected by changes to accessible library provision.

Alford Library  LN13 9AF – 10603
Contact with Alford Primary School has elicited the following:
The school has a room with books for its pupils, but it is not staffed by a school librarian.  The school and pupils rely on Alford Library. They are regularly taken to Story Time sessions.  The children rely on the public library to borrow books.
The John Spendluffe Technology College is also located in Alford.  They have advised that approximately a quarter of their c.500 students are resident in Alford, whilst others attend from further afield.

Birchwood Library LN6 ONL – 10084
Contact with Birchwood Junior School has elicited the following:
This school serves 270 local children.  The public library is situated on the school site.  The school itself has No school library.  Classes are taken to the public library once a week, accompanied by a teacher, to borrow books.

Boultham Library  LN6 7ST – 11217
Contact with the Sir Francis Hill Community Primary School, which is but one school of several located near Boultham Library, has elicited the following:
This school serves 433 children.  The school has a small room with some books, but no Librarian.  As recently as just before the recent half-term holiday, six classes were accompanied by teachers to attend Story Time at the public library and to borrow books.

Bracebridge Library  LN5 8PE – 10311 
Recent contact with Bracebridge Infant & Nursery School – which has 120 children enrolled – has elicited a dismaying response.  They deeply regret that since Bracebridge Library had its hours reduced, the school can no longer take pupils to Story Times nor to borrow books as it regularly did in the past.

Ermine Library  LN2 2BT – 12039
Recent contact with the Our Lady of Lincoln Catholic Primary School, Ermine, has elicited the following:
There are numerous schools in the Ermine area, but this one is located close to the public library.  We were unable to learn whether pupils rely on Ermine Library, as the individual responsible was unavailable – but it was confirmed that this area, in the North of the city, is significantly ‘deprived’.

Kirton Library  PE20 1EF – 10235
Contact with Kirton Primary School has elicited the following information:
There are currently 450 pupils enrolled, but we are told that this number will increase during the next 3 or 4 years.  The school has a small in-house library, but no Librarian.  The public library and primary school are located in this small village outside Boston.  Pupils are all residents of the village.  The school takes children, from time to time, to attend Story Time sessions at the local library.

Long Sutton Library PE12 9BN – 9169
This area is in the second quartile, but is very close to ‘most deprived’
Contact with Long Sutton Primary has elicited the following:
There are c.380 children enrolled.  Staff “regularly” accompany groups of between 10 and 20 children to the public library to familiarise themselves with it and to borrow books.

Spilsby Library  PE23 5ED – 10207
Contact with Spilsby Primary School has elicted the following:
This primary school has 187 pupils.  Two classes are taken every week to the public library, accompanied by a teacher.  No class is left out of this arrangement.  The school has a very small in-house library, but no Librarian.
‘Eresby Special School’ in Spilsby was unwilling to discuss its activities over the telephone.  However, one could assume that Special School pupils might have a particular need for access to their local public library.

Sutton Bridge Library PE12 9SA – 10829 
Sutton Bridge is one of South Holland’s smaller towns, lying to the east of the district.  It is a small but busy port.  To my knowledge, the Westmere Community Primary School is the school located nearest this public library.  Contact with the school is pending.

Wainfleet Library PE24 4DL 11621
The Wainfleet Magdalen Church of England/Methodist School, Skegness, has 200 pupils from 4-11 years of age.  Contact with the school is pending.

1.2  COUNCILLOR KAREN LEE’S WITNESS STATEMENT

Councillor Karen Lee said in her witness statement to the 2014 Judicial Review:

“Around 10,000 Lincoln residents live in areas that are considered to be deprived. One in five people earn less than £10,016 per annum.”

PDF of this statement here: Witness Statement Karen Lee

1.3  LINCOLN CITY COUNCIL’S REPORT ON POVERTY

According to Lincoln City Council’s 2011 Report:

“Around 10,000 Lincoln residents live in areas that are considered to be deprived.  One in five people earn less than £10,016 per annum. Child poverty is particularly high in Glebe ward – 33% (Adjacent to Ermine library); Moorland – 30.9% (adjacent to Boultham library);  Birchwood – 30.4% ( Birchwood library).” Source: Lincoln City Council – Evidence of Poverty in Lincoln 2011. Please note that a copy of the original document is enclosed.

All of those libraries are scheduled for closure or relegation to Tier-3 status.

PDF of this report here: Evidence of Poverty in Lincoln – Lincoln City Council

2. ACCESS 

I have addressed, above, the issue of there being significant numbers of primary school children who will be affected by changes to Library provision, with particular reference to those in Areas of High Deprivation. This, however, ignores the playgroups, nurseries and secondary and primary school students who live in proximity to all 34 (thirty-four) libraries affected by the proposed changes in provision. Their inability to access a professional service locally is likely to impact, similarly, on their happiness, wellbeing, education and literacy.

Many economically disadvantaged people do not even think about buying a computer, much less paying for expensive internet access or buying a mobile phone and accompanying plan, but they can use the public computers in their local library.  So, I believe it is also relevant for the Secretary of State to note that:  “People in the least deprived areas (48.7%) have almost double the digital participation rate of people in the most deprived areas (24.5%)”
Source: DCMS Taking Part Survey

2.1  TRAVEL TIME

Data in the Tables below is extrapolated from a Report  published in 2012.

The Secretary of State may conclude that significant numbers of Lincolnshire residents already travel for more than 30 minutes, just to reach the libraries that are currently under threat of relegation to Tier-3 status or closure .  Journeys to ‘hubs’ will take considerably longer or be impossible for some users.  This data also suggests that, in many of these small towns and villages, a significant number of users live locally and rely on the library that they can reach on foot.

“Access to libraries to a quarter of Lincolnshire’s population will fall outside a 30-minutes travel time by public transport”
Data Source:  Lincolnshire Research Observatory | Initial Analysis of Lincolnshire’s Library Service: Sept 2012
Building Drive Time and Travel Time Using Public Transport Catchment Areas – p.7
Table – p.51 Lincolnshire County Council, Revised Library Proposals

2.2  THE AFFECTED  ‘TIER-3’ LIBRARIES

For ease of comprehension, the data is displayed in two Tables, below:

Data source:  The 2012 Lincolnshire Research Observatory Report, cited above

Table 1 – Tier-3 Libraries in Areas of High Deprivation (2012 figures)

LINCOLNSHIRE  Tier-3 Libraries in Areas of High Deprivation Total Active Borrowers (2012) Within 30 minutes Travel Time %
Alford 1708 634 37%
Birchwood 2858 471 16%
Boultham 2807 2354 84%
Bracebridge 464 433 93%
Ermine 2813 2632 94%
Kirton 1351 931 69%
Long Sutton 1900 56 3%
Spilsby 1448 746 52%
Sutton Bridge Volunteer-run since March 2012
Wainfleet 663 472 71%

Table 2 – The Remaining Twenty-four Tier-3 Libraries (2012 figures)

LINCOLNSHIRE  The remaining 24 Tier-3 Libraries Total Active Borrowers (2012) Within 30 minutes Travel Time %
Bracebridge Heath 750 686 91%
Branston 1723 1374 80%
Burgh-le-Marsh 466 378 81%
Tier-3 Libraries (cont’d) Total Active Borrowers (2012) Within 30 minutes Travel Time %
Caistor 1370 658 48%
Cherry Willingham 1023 982 96%
Coningsby 1475 460 31%
Crowland 940 788 84%
Deepings 2766 1873 68%
Donington 910 657 72%
Holbeach 2495 211 8%
Keelby 456 306 67%
Metheringham 967 126 13%
Nettleham 1756 1499 85%
North Hykeham 2859 1702 60%
Pinchbeck 308 266 86%
Ruskington 1033 942 91%
Saxilby 980 767 78%
Scotter 448 40 9%
Skellingthorpe 515 53 31%
Sutton-on-Sea 819 737 90%
Waddington 826 492 60%
Washingborough 620 589 95%
Welton 2579 1604 62%
Wragby 649 368 57%

It might also be relevant to note that, since the 2014 Judicial Review judgement, significant cuts to opening hours have, to my knowledge, already been implemented at these libraries.

2.3  STATEMENT FROM WENDY CARRICK – Assistant Head, Gainsborough

Wendy Carrick is Assistant Head of Warren Wood Community School, Gainsborough, and a former Principal of Trent Valley Academy, Gainsborough.  She supplies the following evidence:

“The children of Lincolnshire need the libraries to remain open in their local areas because …”

PDF of this document here: Libraries submission Wendy Carrick

Source: Statement from Wendy Carrick – 17th April 2015.

2.4  A SELECTION OF STATEMENTS FROM USERS OF THE LIBRARIES ABOVE

Campaigners with local knowledge have also sought Statements from vulnerable categories of users affected by the changes in library provision proposed for 34  towns and villages.   Please find below a brief selection from the 900 Statements gathered.

Source: open link in new page: website – Save Lincolnshire Libraries Campaign

Statements from Alford, Birchwood, Spilsby, Kirton, Wainfleet, Long Sutton, Sutton Bridge and Boultham libraries (marked in ‘bold‘) are located in areas of High Deprivation.  Notwithstanding, all the other libraries supported by statements from their users (one statement is from a GP) on this List are earmarked by Lincolnshire CC for closure or to be volunteer-run. Some statements include specific reference to individuals’ inability to access other libraries further afield.

Michelle Tallon, Lincoln

“I am a GP – I know many of my patients depend on the library not only for reading material,but for internet access (which they do not have/cannot afford), access to newspapers and magazines and as part of the community.”

Kerryanne Bates, Caistor, Lincs:

“My husband is disabled and the sole driver in our family. He is unable to walk any distances to attend any other libraries further afield. I also have various medical problems that prevent long journeys travelling out to go to other libraries also. Our local library is a real godsend to us. This is why it should not close.”
Kevin Bates, Caistor, Lincs:
“My local library is very important to me because I am disabled and on a very low income, as a consequence I cannot travel to one of the libraries which is further afield.”

Roger Clarke, Caistor, Lincs:
“I use the library for books, computers, social and café facilities within walking distance of home.”

Gillian Sutton, Swallow (village) 6.4 miles from Caistor:
“I live in a small village and we rely on our local library so that we can run our village book group, a vital asset when we have so little services in our small villlage.”

John Myers, Alford, Lincs:
“Both my wife and I are regular users of the library: I am over 80 and my wife is disabled: we cannot afford nor are we able to travel further distances to larger libraries.”

Julia Richardson, re. Alford, Lincs:
“My parents who are now retired still visit the library weekly and being in a small community, people young and old rely on local services and activities to keep them active and part of the local town life. Public transport is not frequent in small communities so it is not easy especially for old people and families with young children to just hop on a bus and visit a library which would be at least a 30 minute bus journey from Alford to the nearest big town.”

Angie Dewick-Eisele, Alford, Lincs:
“Children are not able to travel after school on buses to an alternative library on public transport, Alford has high level of low income families, youth pass time away here on computers if they were not in the library they would be on the street getting into trouble. it is part of the heart of the community.”

Caroline Jesney, Alford, Lincs:
“We live in a small town/village, with little chance of travelling unless you drive which me and my partner don’t, the library in Alford is very important, not only for knowledge but also somewhere for the kids to learn and go during summer holidays, local library’s shouldn’t be got rid of, they are a need!”

Patricia Beard, Birchwood, Lincs:

“I feel a lot of older people could not get into town to use the city library also families with younger children probably couldn’t afford to travel into town.”

Victoria Ayling, Stickford, Lincs:
Spilsby library is too valuable to the community to lose.”

Andrew Cullum, Spilsby, Lincs:
“Village Mobile Libraries are being cut from 400 stops to 150 stops. This will hit the most vulnerable people. Those over 55, those under5, those without transport, those who are generally the most disadvantaged.”

Trevor Beaumont, Spilsby, Lincs:
“I am an avid reader and regularly use the Mobile Library which visits once a month at Ashby by Partney.”

Katharine Bell, Spilsby, Lincs:
“The library is a local resource I and many other people use regularly for a variety of different resources.”

Kerry Clow, Spilsby, Lincs:
“Lincolnshire has large numbers of small communities with little or no access to the services enjoyed by city or town-dwellers. These communities will be the ones most severely affected by library closures – another nail in the coffin for village life.”

Katie Rodriguez:
“Coningsby library is the only one in walking distance, and the only place I can get to to do my university work and access books for research.”

Pauline Fox, Wainfleet, Lincs:
“As a pensioner the library is vital both as a resource for books I cannot afford to buy and for our regular monthly Reading Group.”

Sue Longman, Kirton, Lincs:
“Please don’t remove this valuable asset from our community.”

Karen Smith, Kirton:
“I use my local library a lot, it’s very convenient for me as I live and work in Kirton, its the heart of the community.”

Kathleen Watson, re libraries in Kirton and Caistor:
“My husband takes my daughters to two rural libraries – Kirton in Lindsey, and Caistor every week. They love it. The librarians know them by name and it really encourages them to enjoy books and to read a wide variety of material. Please keep our libraries!”

Peter Hawes, Kirton, Lincs:

“I use our local library a lot.”

Kenneth Snowden, Kirton, Lincs:
“Without this facility in our village young and old people alike will be denied access to the world of literature in the written word, there is nothing like a good book to occupy and educate the mind, If Lincolnshire Councillors where to curtail their year after year increases in expenses, there would be enough money to keep our libraries open.”

Celia Howes, Boultham:
“For personal and community use our library at Boultham gives great added value, worth every penny of our community charge. Its loss would be felt by all ages and deny the community an important place belonging to it.”

Jean Flannery, Boultham:
“Not only I, but many others, value our own local libraries, including mine, Boultham Library, as a true community resource.”

Michael Howes, Boultham:
“Because I regularly use Boultham Library, I value its services to me and its importance to the community.”
Don Robinson, Sutton-on-Sea, Lincs:
“I am a pensioner, like 65% of the population here. There is nothing to do here, especially in the winter only read. The Library is a life-line to me.”

Jean Moss, Sutton-on-Sea, Lincs:
“We have recently moved to this area and having a library within walking distance was very desirable. A lot of people in this area rely on their local library.”

Natalie Copeland, Long Sutton:
“My children love the library as well as my elderly aunt.”

Ena Wyatt, Sutton-on-Sea:
“The local library is a facility needed by the mainly elderly and infirm of Sutton-on-Sea.”

Alison Freame, Sutton-on-Sea:
“Community facilities should not be under threats of closure or replaced with inadequate arrangements. Access to books is so important – libraries need to be freely available for all.”
Lesley Langley:
“The Library in Long Sutton is the hub of the community. Long may it continue!”

Michelle Pearl, Lincoln:
“I represent a young married couple soon to move from Lincoln to a village location. Without a local library I fear for my unborn children’s literary education. Being able to walk to local libraries will be the only service available to us. Travel is not a option.”

Susan Payne, Lincoln:
“Our local libraries (mine is Branston) forge links between all our educational resources for all age groups. The provision of local libraries has been a progressive step for self-improvement. Removing them is retrograde and ignores those people who are less well-off and those unable to travel distances.”

Karen Scarcliffe, Canwick, Lincoln:
“They are hubs of our community, children need access to libraries, and some cannot afford to buy books or just would like to borrow and not buy, without travelling miles.”

Lindsey Slapp, Lincoln:
“Library provision is a statutory requirement, and Lincolnshire County Council are abdicating their responsibility to provide a comprehensive and efficient Library Service across the county by cutting Libraries and forcing community groups to provide their own libraries. There has been no consideration given as to the impact on communities of the loss of libraries. Libraries give a safe space for children to study for their GCSEs, provide meeting rooms for community groups, and provide essential access to technology demanded by state welfare providers. The cuts will also adversely impact the disabled and those who do not have decent transport provision to travel to their nearest (post cut) library. There has been no thought or care as to the practicalities of these changes.”

Christopher Gill, Sleaford, Lincs:
“Modern local libraries, especially in rural areas, provide more than just access to books and reading material, which are, of course, very important. However, the community services aspect of libraries, such as internet access for people who need it and don’t have it, children’s education, eg visits to the library as part of the curriculum, and other activities such as being able to go to the library and talk to somebody, is just as important. Having to travel to “bigger libraries” in a rural county is not an option for many people, and, anyway, it totally misses the point, as to what libraries are about!”

Tracey Bendall Holbeach, Lincs:
“The local library offers many facilities as well as books. If it were to close, travel would be difficult for many and an extra expense; my children have found it invaluable for help with their homework and it is where many people can access the internet, which is very important in a rural community, as contrary to popular belief in government, there are still a great many who do not own, or cannot afford a computer.”

Judith Valerie Pitt, Lincoln:
“Libraries are essential in any area, and especially for young people just starting to discover the joy of books. Also hugely needed by the elderly who are not able to travel long distances to change and take out books. Please, please think again.”

Adrian Richards, Market Rasen:

“I go to my library nearly every week for an hour or two at a time mainly looking at microfilms for local history research. If this facility closes where else am I going to be able to do it? If it means I have to travel the 15 miles to Lincoln, then there is more chance that I won’t bother at all. As I am stood in the library i see people come in and out using the facilities, the internet, looking at books in the library. My partner works for a children’s nursery around the corner that bring their children to the library for story time. All of these things must be considered as well as the location of our town. We are at least 15 miles away from a big town should these facilities be lost. How many would be prepared to travel that far to continue to use these services?”

3. A SUBMISSION BY TIM COATES

PDF at this link: Lincolnshire libraries – Public Libraries Act – Tim Coates

I refer to a document that is enclosed, as an item of important additional evidence.

3.1  Within his conclusions and recommendations, Mr Coates describes a failure by DCMS and the County Council to comply with Section 1.2 and identifies further examples of Lincolnshire County Council’s non-compliance with Section 7 (Public Libraries and Museums Act 1964).

3.2  I confirm that I agree with all Mr Coates’s arguments therein and wish the enclosed document to be considered as an integral part of the evidence I am submitting here.

4. LINCS. TENDERING PROCESS

A tendering process has recently been launched by Lincolnshire County Council for the outsourcing of its Library Service.  This process should also be vulnerable to the Secretary of State’s intervention, as the issue of the validity of the Council’s second consultation process is to be challenged in Court in further Judicial Review proceedings, a letter before action in relation to which has been served.

5. CONSULTATION

The arguments against the adequacy of the County Council’s second consultation are summarised in the Letter Before Action, to which I refer in Point 4 above. It also deals with other matters (PSED, the GLL bid and the Section 7 duty).  I request that the Secretary of State make it clear to Lincolnshire County Council that their proposed reorganisation should not advance further until the new Judicial Review has been adjudged one way or another and that it then be subject to the Secretary of State’s Decision about my formal request for his Intervention.

6.THE ‘SAVE BOLTON LIBRARIES’  CAMPAIGN RESPONSE TO THE SECRETARY OF STATE’S NOT MINDED TO LETTER

I have read the Save Bolton Libraries Campaign’s response of 29 November 2012 to the Secretary of State’s ‘Not Minded to Intervene’ letter (‘the Bolton Submission’),  relating to the reorganisation of Bolton libraries in 2012, a copy of which may be located at DCMS.    I further confirm that I adopt (mutatis mutandis) the legal arguments raised therein, but wish to indicate that my points 7, 8 and 9, below, should supplement them.

7.  HUMAN RIGHTS ACT 1998

Access to public libraries is a basic human right. See e.g. ‘The Human Right to a Public Library’ by Kay Mathieson (cited in the Bolton Submission). This is not to be considered as in any way an abstract concept or academic argument, as explained in the statement of Wendy Carrick, which accompanies this letter, in which she provides significant detail as to why the children of Lincolnshire need the libraries to remain open in their local areas.

In relation to the impact of the 1998 Act upon these matters, I would urge the Secretary of State to consider that:

(a)  There is a positive duty on both Lincolnshire County Council and the Secretary of State to satisfy themselves that the proposed restructuring of the county’s library service does not infringe Convention Rights before that restructuring is allowed to proceed;  and

(b)  Since the lodging of the Bolton Submission, further evidence has emerged as to the negative impact of low levels of literacy (orthodox and digital) on health and employability. I request the Secretary of State to be minded to engage with Article 2 of the First Protocol to the Convention (Right to Education).

I refer the Secretary of State to the Arts Council Report: ‘Health and Wellbeing Benefits of Public Libraries’ and its Advice and Guidance note, both of which may be accessed on their website.

I request the Secretary of State to investigate closely the issue of whether, as I contend is the case, Article 2 of the First Protocol to the Convention (Right to Education) would be breached by implementation of the Council’s proposals.

 8. PUBLIC HEALTH-RELATED OBJECTIVES

Important aspects of public policy such as the achievement of the public health-related objectives of the NHS’s Five Year Forward View, which will depend for its effectiveness and financial viability on the reduction of avoidable illnesses, are materially connected with the development of literacy and careful consideration must be given by both the DCMS and Lincolnshire County Council as to whether the proposed restructuring of the library service in the county will impact negatively upon the achievement of such objectives.

9. INTERNATIONAL AGREEMENTS ON LIBRARIES , LITERACY & RIGHTS

Not to be ignored are international agreements and charters on libraries and literacy, both orthodox and digital, including but not limited to those cited in the Bolton Submission to which my Point 6 above refers – as follows:

(i)   International Literacy – Resolution  adopted by the UN General Assembly (1989)

(ii)  The UNESCO Public Library Manifesto; and

(iii) Other material relating to literacy (orthodox and digital) cited in the Bolton Submission

9.1  INTERNATIONAL AGREEMENTS  – Directly Referring to Children’s Rights:

The Geneva Declaration of the Rights of the Child, 26th September 1924;

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, 20th November 1989;
The European Convention on the Exercise of Children’s Rights, Council of Europe

The Montevideo Memorandum on digital exclusion of Youth

And additional references, as follows:

The UN International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, 16th December 1966, – Article 13 recognizing the right of everyone to education

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 10th December 1948 – Articles 25 and 26-3;

The European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, 4th November 1950 – Article 8

The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, 7th December 2000 – Article 241.

The United Nations International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, 16th

December 1966, – Article 17

10. MY REQUEST TO YOU

In light of all the additional evidence herein supplied, I respectfully ask the Secretary of State to reconsider his Provisional Decision and request that you direct a Local Inquiry – on the grounds that Lincolnshire County Councils proposals for its Library Service will result in a service which does not comply with Section 7 of the 1964 Act (interpreted in accordance with s.3 of the 1998 Act).  I also contend that on the evidence there is a duty to intervene under s.10 of the 1964 Act (interpreted as aforesaid) and under s.6 of the 1998 Act.

I confirm that I reserve right to supplement or otherwise revise these submissions in relation to any future Local Inquiry or legal proceedings.

Yours sincerely,

Maurice Nauta

Lincolnshire County Council library plans to be challenged again in the High Court

On 21st July Lincolnshire County Council and its plans for libraries will be back in the High Court, following a request for a second Judicial Review by Simon Draper.On 10th June in the High Court, Queen’s Bench Division, the Honourable Mr Justice Hamblen decided that the application for permission to apply for a Judicial Review by Simon Draper versus Lincolnshire County Council should be adjourned to be listed in court as a “rolled up hearing”. The hearing will take place in the High Court on 21st and 22nd July. This hearing will consider whether Lincolnshire County Council’s view that the claim by Simon Draper has not been brought promptly is valid. If permission to apply for Judicial Review is granted at that hearing the Court will proceed immediately to carry out the Judicial Review. There are three grounds for Simon Draper’s challenge to the actions of Lincolnshire County Council regarding its plans to either close some 28 libraries across the county or hand them over to volunteers.

tweetbeam

Social media support during the 2014 Judicial Review

The first ground for a Judicial Review is that when Lincolnshire County Council carried out a second ‘consultation’ last October, following the High Court’s decision to quash the council’s original decision, it failed to consult about alternative proposals, including the Greenwich Leisure (GLL) plans, as it was legally required to do. The consultation made no reference to any alternatives to the County Council plans such as that submitted by GLL which would have kept all the libraries open with paid staff. The second ground for a Judicial Review is that the County Council in having accepted the expression of interest by GLL to run the whole library service in Lincolnshire on 12th November 2014, then decided to stop providing the service and did not go out to procurement for the whole library service which GLL had expressed its interest in providing. In other words Lincolnshire County Council having accepted GLL’s expression of interest should have then gone out to procure the whole library service rather than the reduced service it is currently asking for bids for.

#lobby4libraries 03

April 2014, travelling to Westminster to Lobby for Libraries

The third ground for a Judicial Review is the failure of Lincolnshire County Council to consider alternative proposals under best value. Its approach to the proposal from GLL is perverse. No reasonable council would reject the chance to have a better level of service for the same budget. Commenting on the case Paul Heron from Public Interest Lawyers said: “It is very unfortunate that we are having to take legal action once again against Lincolnshire County Council. “They have failed to listen to everyone who has been calling on them to take a more reasoned approach to the library service following the High Court ruling last year. “It is a particular shame that they have failed to go with the Greenwich Leisure (GLL) proposals to maintain a staffed library service when GLL have a track record of running libraries successfully.” Simon and Timber Gray Draper said: “Since the Council keeps closing and downgrading our libraries, we need someone running them who will think of children first, help adults who need it, especially with computers, bring in Top 10 books and keep all libraries open. The council’s plan about using volunteers is unsustainable.”

photo (24)

Campaigners in April 2014 meeting then Shadow Minister Helen Goodman MP

Julie Harrison on behalf of Save Lincolnshire Libraries said: “The Council Executive have drawn a line in the sand regarding most of the libraries in the county and it is time for them to step over it and listen. It is still possible to run a comprehensive and efficient library service within the budget available without taking thirty libraries out of statutory control. This second Judicial Review reflects a justifiable concern regarding the County Council’s decisions and practices.” Details of two years of campaigning on the homepage here: https://savelincslibraries.org.uk/ Daily updates from the campaign in social media:Twitter: https://twitter.com/savelincslibs Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SaveLincsLibraries

threaten, bully and criticise”

Dear Editor

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.

Yours Sincerely,

Maurice Nauta, Hazel Burnett and Julie Harrison

Save Lincolnshire Libraries Campaign

Sad Day for Lincolnshire

“Having broken their promise to keep libraries open with the closure of three libraries already confirmed, the leader of the county council Councillor Martin Hill and Councillor Nick worth are trying to blame everyone else for the fact that they acted unlawfully before the first judicial review,” said John Hough on behalf of Save Lincolnshire Libraries.

“They should apologise for the mess they have made of the library service. Their failure to accept the offer from Greenwich Leisure to run the whole library service keeping libraries open across Lincolnshire as well as making the savings the County Council wanted seems to have passed them by.

“The County Council needs to show it is achieving best value for the money it spends and it also has a duty to look after the public service it provides.

“When Greenwich Leisure came along offering to keep services at a price the Council could afford, they should have snapped their hands off and gone with this. Instead they were determined to ignore this sensible option and to force communities to try and save their libraries.

“Many of the volunteers, who have come forward, have made the point that they felt it vital to keep the library open for their communities but they would far rather that paid professionals were running the service and taking responsibility.

“Simon Draper, as a man in the street, should be congratulated for having the courage to stand up to the Executive of the County Council, a billion pound organisation.

“While the British legal system has many faults, the fact that an individual can still take an all powerful executive to the High Court to expose the fact that the Council is acting unlawfully has to be welcomed. Long may that ability for the ordinary British Citizen to hold local government or national government to account continue.”

As the council plan is now live, the campaign will now record libraries closed for good in Lincs (with no volunteer hub substitute) and volunteers that have withdrawn their offers or made it clear their offer is not genuinely ‘voluntary’.

You can view this record here:

https://savelincslibraries.org.uk/volunteer-crisis/

Read the council’s press release here:

Council to seek costs for campaigners’ failed libraries challenge

Volunteer Crisis

Now the council plan is going ahead (from Oct 2015) we continue our campaign by recording what is happening to the service. This includes libraries that have closed for good, volunteers that confirm they are not genuine volunteers but feel forced into saving their community resources and volunteers withdrawing their offers. Help us make this record a true account by letting us know what’s happening with your library, community hub or volunteer group via our contact page.

Wainfleet Library Needs Volunteers (September 2016)

Residents have been without a library for more than a year, when Lincolnshire County Council closed the grade one listed building for renovation. A public meeting in the Magdalen building is taking place… to rally volunteers to get it up and running. Read more at: Skegness Standard

Uncertain future for Caistor Arts & Heritage Centre (August 2016)

“Come the autumn, we are concerned we are not going to have the money to continue,” said centre manager Stephanie Dale. The centre houses the town’s library and hosts a number of community events for all ages to enjoy throughout the year. Read more at: Market Rasen Mail

Holbeach Library plans come under ‘travesty’ attack (August 2016)

At a parish council meeting on Monday, Coun Val Gemmell said: “Holbeach Library is being remodelled on the same basis as two other Co-op branches and volunteer-run libraries in Lincolnshire, one at Waddington and one at Spilsby. But I’m very concerned over the safeguarding policy and it not having any tables and chairs for children. Also, there will be seven computers at the new library but they haven’t considered that children will be using them, next to adults. The lack of provision for youngsters means this won’t be a community library but a travesty of one.” Read more at: Spalding Today

Washingborough Now Closed for Good. October 2015.

Tweet from the Cherry Tree Class from Washingborough Academy, before the library was closed

Parish Council update:

“You will be aware that Lincolnshire County Council are withdrawing from the operating of the Library Service at the end of September and were hoping that the service would continue through the Parish Council and a team of volunteers. Despite repeated requests for volunteers the response has been very poor. Due to this the County Council will now close the Library at the end of September and the service will reduce to a mobile library. The Parish Council would like to thank the people who did put their names forward as volunteers to help save this service.”

Source: http://parishes.lincolnshire.gov.uk/Washingborough/section.asp?catId=32354

Coningsby / Tattershall Now Closed for Good. October 2015. 

The most recent news reports we could find (Feb 2015)

“There was an initial meeting between Tattershall with Thorpe and Coningsby. It was an exploratory meeting which was agreed that because of the financial implications it would be fiscally imprudent for the parish council to enter into any commitment on library provision.” Full article: http://www.bostonstandard.co.uk/news/community/community-news/parish-running-library-fiscally-imprudent-1-6574653.

If you have more detail on what happened at this library, please tell us via our contact page.

Council Magazine Autumn 2015, click to enlarge.

Skellingthorpe Library Now Closed for Good. October 2015.

Parish Council Minutes (many references to the library in council minutes. Reason for volunteer plan failure not clear, campaign has asked for more detail which should be given after then next meeting, 27th October 2015).

October 2014
Skellingthorpe Library service update.
Greenwich Leisure had met with Cllrs Cheeseman, Goldson and Scott. It had been a very positive meeting and they had endorsed the ideas that the Parish Council had reported about the Hub that is proposed for this site.

November 2014
15. Skellingthorpe Library service update.
Officers have recommended that the Executive Member for Libraries formally accepts the Greenwich Leisure expression of interest as having met the criteria. If the panel’s recommendation is approved then the Council will need to carry out a procurement exercise which will probably lead to library services being put out to tender.

February 2015
Cllr Shore queried the situation with regard to the Parish Councils bid to take over the village library service and advised that the capital gains from the old building are to be transferred to the Parish Council.
Cllr Shore to confirm this with LCC and Cllr Martin Hill
23. LCC Libraries and Future Library Provision Proposals.
Letter to be sent to Gary Porter giving a commitment in order to preserve the grant allowance and capital gains to buy some time as part of the bigger plan for the Community Hub.
Cllr Cheeseman to write letter/
Short term proposal for the running of the existing building by volunteers to be considered

Council magazine Autumn 2015, click to enlarge

March 2015
1. Resubmission of financial element for Community Hub.
Correspondence from Gary Porter was discussed but felt there was no value in the refurbishment of Library. Due to this the Library will close in September 2015, and would be reallocated to the Hub in the future. There would be a Mobile service available in the interim period. Cllr Cheeseman has sent a letter to Mr Porter.

April 2015
To consider the recent correspondence from Lincolnshire Libraries regarding the village library service. Cllr Cheeseman to contact Gary Porter to advise on the position with regard to the library service in the village.

August 2015
7. Library.
Mobile library from October. Where to site it – The Hill or the Community Centre? For safety reasons the Community Centre was proposed by Cllr Jackman, Cllr Goldson seconded. All in favour.

Wragby Volunteer Hub in Crisis

(November 2015) Lincolnshire County Council has been accused of “murdering” library services after a community hub surviving on a ‘shoestring’ claims it was slapped with a £10,000 business rates bill. The bill was allegedly handed to Wragby Community Hub – and volunteers who run the facility say its future is now uncertain.

Read more: http://www.horncastlenews.co.uk/news/local/fears-for-community-hub-after-10k-bill-1-7082624#ixzz3sb0T1zPI

(September 2015) “A Lincolnshire library is to shut permanently after volunteers say there is not enough money to run it. The library at Wragby will shut later today as there are not enough funds to keep it open, volunteers who run it say once rent has been paid there is only £1,000 left to run it for the year.”

Full article: http://www.lincolnshireecho.co.uk/Lincolnshire-library-shut-good-lack-funding/story-27887585-detail/story.html#ixzz3oYgE0anm

WAINFLEET source: email from Sara Baird and http://owlchub.weebly.com/

Our Wainfleet Library and Community Hub (OWLCHub)

Wainfleet Library has been located in a Grade 1 listed Scheduled Ancient Monument since 1968. It is leased by LCC from Magdalen College, Oxford.

 

Wainfleet library

OWLCHub’s initial bid to run the library service was based within this 15th century edifice, but after submitting the initial bid it became glaringly obvious that there was no way that a community group could contemplate running the site without significant financial backing.

OWLCHub then looked at other local venues where it might have been possible to house a library but, sadly, all the community buildings within the area are either unsuitable or would also demand prohibitive investment.

With hindsight we realise that we were running on an adrenaline high, we really did want to save the library and felt compelled to submit a bid by the 31st March deadline. However, until a suitable building is found, with adequate funding to maintain it, a further bid to run a library in Wainfleet is unrealistic.

Regards

Sara Baird

Full timeline here: http://owlchub.weebly.co/the-story-so-far.html

Update on Council website: Wainfleet Library will be closed from 1pm on Saturday 6 June. The County Council’s lease on the building is coming to an end, and, in light of the planned changes to library services, the authority has decided not to renew it. Efforts are being made locally to develop plans for a volunteer-run facility, something the Council wholeheartedly supports. In the meantime, the Council will be providing a mobile so people can continue to use services. Starting on Thursday 11 June 2015, stops will be fortnightly on a Thursday between 10am-2pm. The van will be parked in the Market Square

Wainfleet image source: Creative Commons Imge

DEEPINGS Friends of Deepings Library Newsletter

“Nick Worth admits at last we are not ‘willing’ volunteers
“Nick Worth has agreed to stop using the phrase ‘willing volunteers’ when talking about FoDL and other groups forced to plan to run their libraries if needed. Volunteers we may be but only under duress. FoDL challenged him to name library groups who could be described as genuinely happy to run amateur libraries in their communities. He named three – all of which rejected his description when contacted by us – and was unable to name any others. He then agreed that he would drop this phrase from his media pronouncements.”

ALFORD

Janet Mackey, volunteer (Facebook posts)

When we as Alford Library Volunteers came together to support our Library and its staff to save the Library as it was, we had great expectations that we would ‘win the day’! Unfortunately since the consultation and the subsequent redundancies of professional staff, and now the Judicial Review have made us question the relevancy of our position. Yes the community have been right behind us and supported us on the extra 3 hours we opened the library, because they also hoped that the Library could be saved as it was. Stephen is quite right in saying that we were happy as a group in volunteering supported by LCC Library staff, as the responsibility is still squarely on their shoulders. As a mainly retired group of professional and semi-professional people we really didn’t want the responsibility which is to come with completely Volunteered led Community Groups. To coin a phrase ‘we’ve worked all our working lives’ and in retirement we hoped to be able to make a difference to helping in the community NOT taking full responsibility!!. The decision to stop volunteering at Alford was not made lightly, as we have all enjoyed our time at the Library. We will still be supporting SLL in their efforts with the Judicial Review. Lets hope LCC are held to account.

The Deepings – Liz Waterland Chairwoman, The Friends of Deeping Library (comment on Lincs Echo article)

May I correct an impression that readers may have gained, following your news item about Nick Worth’s opinions on library closures. The word ‘volunteers’ is only correct in so far as we are unpaid and are preparing to run a Community Library should we have to. We haven’t volunteered to run a library; we are being forced to do so because Lincolnshire County Council have threatened us with the closure of our popular and well used facility if we don’t. We will do our very best to step in if we have to but we would much rather that our library stayed open as the professionally run, properly staffed and funded community asset that it is at present. Neither alternative, of closure or community take over, is of our choice; we are being forced into this position because we are not willing to see the end of our library in The Deepings. The Friends of Deeping Library have been told we must ‘do it or die’ – the choice between them is NOT voluntary!

NETTLEHAM Parish Council 1 April 2014 Nettleham Library – Update on current position

Following Lincolnshire County Council’s (LCC) decision to proceed with its implementation of library closures, Nettleham Parish Council has now been left with no alternative but to withdraw its Expression of Interest in running a community-led library in Nettleham.  The Parish Council believes that it has made every effort to bring about the establishing of a Community Library in the village but sadly the intransigence of LCC to negotiate a more realistic lease agreement has made this impossible.  LCC would not agree to a minimum 5 year lease on the existing building, insisting that its Model Heads of Terms are applied allowing it to break the lease arrangement at any time.  Nettleham Parish Council did not feel it could invest the time and money into this venture under such conditions and expressed appreciation to the 90 residents who had come forward to volunteer their services in an effort save this vital community asset.  The Parish Council is also grateful to County Councillor Jackie Brockway for her considerable mediating efforts with LCC and hopes it is not too late for any other interested parties to step in.

The Chairman of the Parish Council Terry Williams said “this is an extremely disappointing outcome, but the Parish Council was left with no choice in the matter due to the insistence of the County Council on the inclusion of a condition in the Lease of the Building that meant they could terminate the arrangements at the drop of a hat.

North Hykeham Town Council, from Cllr Peter Dixon, Moor Ward, NHTC, via Facebook message

To whom it may concern. North Hykeham Town Council ( NHTC) and indeed North Kesteven District Council (NKDC), both submitted expressions of Interest in the hope of preserving a library service for library users in and around the Hykeham area. In the case of North Hykeham Town Council, this step was undertaken in response to views expressed at a public meeting arranged by NHTC at the town council’s offices. NHTC felt it was important that the community be given an opportunity to have its views heard in a public forum because arrangements made by Lincolnshire County Council ( LCC) made this almost impossible. I say this because the only local consultation event was held over 2 hrs at 7pm in the evening at Bishop Grossteste College, Newport, Lincoln. Anyone wishing to attend was also expected to apply for one of a limited number of tickets to attend what turned out to be a stage managed event.

As a result of local dismay and concern at LCC’s proposals, the North Hykeham Library Users Group was formed by local library users and NHTC formed a library working party to examine and, where appropriate, pursue the best of all options available.

It was agreed early on that the aim would be to preserve our library, with professional and volunteer staff if at all possible. Despite campaigning to have our library justifiably reclassified as a Tier 2 facility, LCC refused to concede arguing that local library users could travel to the Central library in Lincoln within 30 minutes. A claim that is clearly unachievable during daylight hours for those reliant on public transport!

Further research made it clear that LCC had already made plans to close our library before the consultation was even unveiled and that the survival of our library in its current location was not going to happen. We know that NKDC were approached as early as 2009 by LCC about accommodating a modified library service at the North Kesteven Sports Centre. It was also stated in the Consultation document that LCC had already decided that the North Hykeham library building and site would not be available for asset transfer. The evidence is such that it is logical to surmise that the fate of North Hykeham Library had already been determined and that LCC officers used the consultation process as a smokescreen for their plans. North Hykeham’s library users were conned into participating in a consultation in which their views were to be ignored from the outset.

I would like it to be clearly understood that all campaigning to save our library and all the effort put in by the local community, the NHLUG and members of the town council’s library working party has been motivated by the fear that our community would lose a much valued public service.

Cllr Peter Dixon, Moor Ward, NHTC

The Deepings – Ashley Baxter (Comment on this blog)

After six months of a phoney consultation we began looking seriously at the costs of running the existing Deepings library building. LCC is offering community groups £5,167 annually to run a library, regardless of size. After years of neglect and underuse of the upper floors, Deepings energy bills alone come to £3,800 leaving £100 a month to pay for everything else. Further enquiries uncovered that LCC had been secretly planning a feasibility study into selling the existing library and building a new-build extension to another community building that LCC don’t even own (yet). The Parish and Town Councils are now participating with the Expression of Interest process because it is the only way to keep the dialogue going and the library doors open.

Sutton on Sea – Stephen Palmer (via Facebook)

Hello all, as most of you know I am a County Councillor (Lincolnshire Independent) for Alford and Sutton on Sea. I have been active in opposing this whole process of volunteer run libraries and believe that the decision was a purely political decision and does not make sense on any level least of all the need to save money. This whole thing is costing tax payers as much as continuing to run the libraries as is until 2018. Anyway back to this thread. I have a duty to my communities and because of this I am putting efforts into setting up Sutton on Sea as a community run volunteer library. I am supporting the efforts of Alford to do the same. But and it is a big But we would not be doing this if we had not been forced to and I do believe if we had not we would not have a library.

If you have valuable information on what’s happening at your community hub (good or bad) please tell us via our contact page. We will not use your comment publicly without your express permission.

This information was orignally posted here.

Villains

The nine executive members who made the decision to proceed with swingeing cuts to

Lincolnshire’s library service (contact details below)

23,000 people signed various petitions against the library cuts (according to the council’s own consultation report).

9,757 turned out for the nine exec members in the 2013 county election.

The next county election is 2017.

Read the campaign story so far on this page: Save Lincolnshire Libraries Timeline

Lincs Conservative manifesto 2013

Do you feel informed or betrayed?

The Lincolnshire County Council Conservative party manifesto of 2013 (pictured) promised to “Continue a countywide library network with better access and opening Hours.” Did this prepare you for what has actually happened: a cut to the number of council-run libraries from 47 to 15, 30 communities told they must work for free to keep library provision in their area, and about 160 library staff made redundant.

And then there’s the disgraceful treatment of  Pauline Palmer

Lincolnshire resident who produced an alternative plan for the libraries and was treated terribly by the council. They have apologised to her now, but the phrase ‘too little too late’ is perfectly applied here. Read all about this on this post: Pauline Palmer Apology

You might also want to read this article from before the Judicial Review where Martin Hill says

‘If campaigners want to go to court to save Lincolnshire libraries, they should pay for it’

Campaigners went on to win the JR on two counts, but would not have been able to challenge the council without legal aid.

In this article Martin Hill also states:

“There’s been judicial reviews of every single council that’s tried to reform its libraries service.” This is a lie.

And then there’s unbelievable statements like this, made at a public meeting:

 

The above comments recorded by Lincs Echo reporter Mark Williams. These were comments made by executive councillor Nick Worth, the architect of the Lincolnshire Libraries cuts.

And then there’s this tornado level of spin:

Download the council’s magazine here to see this on page 7: County-News—Autumn-2014 (1)

Contact details for the exec

Nick Worth (Cons), portfolio holder for libraries who has steered the cuts through, click here for contact details

Martin Hill (Cons), click this link for contact details

Patricia Bradwell (Cons), click here for contact details

Colin Davie (Cons), click here for contact details

Peter Robinson (Cons), click here for contact details

Richard Davies (Cons), click here for contact details

Sue Woolley (Cons), click here for contact details

Barry Young (Cons), click here for contact details

Reg Shore (Lib Dem), click here for contact details

Tory Support

What council leader Martin Hill wants people to believe:

What has actually happened:

Here is a record of members of the Conservative party supporting what we have done and opposing the council’s plan, including David Cameron PM, Sir Peter Tapsell MP, Sir Edward Leigh MP, John Hayes MP, a member of the exec that voted through the plan, Cllr Linda Neal (Leader of South Kesteven District Council) and Councillor Martin Hill himself – yes, you read that correctly, read on…

 David Cameron, Prime Minister

 Sir Peter Tapsell MP

 Sir Edward Leigh MP

 John Hayes MP

Cllr Peter Robinson

ONE OF THE COUNCIL EXEC THAT VOTED THROUGH THE PLAN

Cllr Linda Neal

Leader of South Kesteven District Council

Stephen Phillips QC MP

Cllr Martin Hill

Leader of Lincolnshire County Council (he signed a petition opposing his own cuts)

Martin Hill (left) and Phil Dilks

Read about this here: http://www.spaldingtoday.co.uk/what-s-on/lifestyle-and-leisure/council-chief-signs-libraries-petition-1-5363242 and here http://www.lincolnshireecho.co.uk/Council-leader-Martin-Hill-signs-petition-save/story-19619464-detail/story.html

Want more evidence of how wrong this is?

Click here to read our growing page of UK councils that have dramatically changed their library plans after consultations: https://savelincslibraries.org.uk/councils-that-listened/

Click here to read our growing page “volunteer crisis” that lists the volunteer groups already withdrawing from the council’s plan, and confirms that no group we have spoken to actually wants to take on their library, they feel they have no choice: https://savelincslibraries.org.uk/volunteer-crisis/

Speeches

You can read a summary of the council’s proposals on our homepage

This campaign believe that the proposal does not meet the needs, requirements or wishes of the people of Lincolnshire.

Libraries are a golden thread that run throughout our lives but they are not a luxury. They provide that window to knowledge, freedom and personal improvement that has been vital to so many and is essential for our children. They are a golden gate towards educational achievement, good jobs and fame and success for so many.

What chance is there going to be for the children of Lincolnshire in the future? What chance for the 1 in 4 children in Lincoln who live in poverty? This need is magnified by those who live in rural isolation and in our county towns.

For huge numbers they are an essential life-line as they do not have the internet access at home that others of us take for granted. Up to 50% of households in deprived areas. How can these people survive as everything is increasingly going online?

People will not be able to access computers to search for work or claim benefits (this includes those who are working hard on low wages) I see children going increasingly hungry and worse in these homes as the scenario is impossible.

Thank you to all the volunteers who have come forward. You are invaluable to an enhanced library service BUT you can’t be expected to run it! The voluntary hubs proposed are not sustainable and sufficient funding and resources will not be there to support you.

IT IS NOT NECESSARY – It has been shown that a library service can continue to operate within the proposed budget. GIVE IT A CHANCE.

The council proposal flies in the face of
• public opinion
• common sense
• best value
• good financial management – this is OUR money!

There is no valid reason why these county councillors have reverted to their original proposals
The people of Lincolnshire cannot let it happen.

Once our libraries have gone – they are gone for ever. It is essential that the whole county has an accessible service that is:
• professionally led;
• appropriately funded;
• not dependent upon volunteers ;
• not a post code lottery.

A front line service cannot be effective if people cannot get to it! It can be done.
We have supported the submission from GLL as it is the best opportunity for the delivery of a comprehensive and efficient service. Indeed, it appears that the service could be able to be enhanced and developed under GLL. We must not throw out the baby with the bathwater.

By not thoroughly investigating GLL’s submission to run the full service. (or any other appropriate parties) we are doing exactly that. WHY? The proposition here today is simply not Best Value.

Nor is the voluntary scheme sustainable. This is well known. William Seighart – Author of the recent Independent Library Report (DCMS) said

“Some local authorities struggle to know how to deliver – they tend to panic, go for closures or volunteers. That will be a disaster.” 

We cannot see why the executive are determined to drive this through as a political ideology. Because there is NO advantage. There will only be losses – huge losses.

We stress the adverse effect upon children. The impact upon educational attainment will be serious and incur greater expenditure elsewhere. How can we do this to the 1 in 4 children in Lincoln who live in poverty? The same principle applies to all categories of library users – greater financial expenditure will just be necessary elsewhere.

Many who are not vulnerable will become so. This decision destroys life chances. It decimates the quality of life of the elderly. The proportion of budget we are wasting time and money over is minimal for immense front line benefit.

Lincolnshire County Council can deliver a professionally led, comprehensive and efficient service, across the county ……. without resorting to mass closures……… within the given budget…….. and it should do so!

(Based on the speeches of Julie Harrison, campaigner and former head teacher)

SoS Letter

LATEST 14 page response sent to the Secretary of State by campaigner Maurice Nauta April 2015, regarding the minister’s  ‘provisional’ decision not to intervene in the Lincolnshire cuts.

Read it here All the reasons you should intervene, Dear Secretary of State

Previous letters:

Following the resignation of Maria Miller as Secretary of State,  Maurice Nauta (campaigner and former  senior manager in our library service) has now written to her replacement Sajid Javid. You can still read the original letter to Maria Miller if you scroll down this page. 

An open Letter to:
The Rt Hon Mr. Sajid Javid, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport

From:
Mr Maurice Nauta

14th April, 2014
Dear Mr. Sajid Javid,

LINCOLNSHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL – LIBRARY SERVICE PROVISION

Welcome to your new post, and I sincerely hope you will take the opportunity to be active and influential in the role. You will already know that there is much to do and that many of us will be pinning our hopes on your appointment.

I received a letter from Zoe Allott of the Department’s Ministerial Support Team on 12th March 2014. She confirmed receipt of my letter to your predecessor, in which I described the fears, shock and anger of local residents here over the dismemberment of our library service. In that letter, which I am resending here as an attachment, I asked for the Secretary of State to use her powers under the Public Libraries Act 1964 to intervene in the decisions made by the County Council. She declined because we have been successful in obtaining a Judicial Review (on all four counts). This is not likely to happen before June.

You will probably be aware that there are similar battles happening all over the country, whilst at the same time a panel of the DCMS are considering the future of the library service within the Sieghart Review (I attach my contribution herewith). To me, it would make sense to call for a “cease fire “, using your powers, to allow you the opportunity to make sure that what comes out of the Review can be delivered by a library service fit for the purpose. I know the arguments about the need to save money and letting local Councils make the decisions. However, we have never had this situation before. A new Secretary of State; a major upheaval of a much loved and significant local and national service, and a Review of how library services will play a major role in the key strategies of our times (education, economic regeneration, equality, health and community development etc).

Since I last wrote, residents have lobbied MPs at the House of Commons and presented a book called “The Tip of the Iceberg” at Number 10. This contained nearly 1,000 written comments from the petition to Save our Libraries signed by 23,000 people. My own MP, Sir Edward Leigh, has been prominent throughout the last ten months, in asking the County Council to stop what they are doing to the library service and think again. I attach his latest press release. It is also a fact that alternatives to the County Councils’ proposals were given short shrift by them, even though they would have meant less disruption and at least the same savings. Now people here are being made redundant and local Parish Councils forced into the situation of either taking over the running of local libraries, or losing them, and at the same time needing to find extra money through the local precept to pay the County Council for that honour.

Finally, LCC have unilaterally decided to remove most of their sites and the whole of the mobile service from the national statutory library system, and therefore remove them from the positive sphere of influence of the government, including your national supervisory oversight. LCC do not appear to have produced any explanation as to why taking this action would be of benefit to residents.

Despite the fact that you are undoubtedly going to be busy, I do hope you will give this situation in Lincolnshire particular regard, because it is being followed by local authorities and their residents thoughout the country.

Yours Sincerely,
Maurice Nauta

Original letter to Maria Miller. Click here to open the fuller PDF version of letter (approx 20 pages) which includes full appendices Open Letter to The Rt Hon Maria Miller MP re LCC Intervention Call. Click here to read Maurice Nauta’s statement about this letter

An open Letter to:
The Rt Hon Maria Miller MP
Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport

From:
Mr Maurice Nauta

10th February 2014

Dear Mrs Miller,

I have received a letter (CMS/239729) from your department dated 23rd January 2014 with the information that my previous representations made to Mr Ed Vaizey MP on 18th October are currently being considered.

Since my original letter was sent, firm decisions have been made by Lincolnshire County Council and I now feel that only a full inquiry under your direction will be sufficient to properly address the strong evidence that a decision has now been made which produces serious doubt as to whether the Council is (or may cease to be) complying with its legal obligation to provide a comprehensive and efficient library service. This is in addition to significant discrepancies within the process of change itself.

You will be aware of the decision by Lincolnshire County Council (LCC) to introduce wide-ranging changes in the library provision in the County of Lincolnshire but you may not know of the very widespread public opposition to those changes. A petition against the proposals gathered around 23,000 signatures.

Official consultation on the proposed changes also produced an unprecedented level of public response. The resulting report noted that “In over a decade of research work the analysis team at SHU had not experienced any survey (on any topic) generating such a high volume of qualitative data / written comments. In excess of 21,300 comments (779 A4 pages) were read, coded and analysed.”

The very high response rate can be explained by the fact that changes do not just affect a select group of people but a majority of the residents across England’s second largest county. Most will have to travel further to reach a full range of library services; many will have to travel much further and a quarter of households in the county will be placed beyond what the Department of Transport deems to be acceptable access to a statutory service.

Although participation was extensive “many participants found the survey and consultation events unsuitable or inadequate ways to communicate their feelings, and over 600 Lincolnshire residents chose to contact LCC via email, letter or social media to further voice their opinions.”

To back up the dissatisfaction that was expressed at the way the consultation was conducted there is clear evidence that the process of introducing these changes has been deeply flawed. The Consultation Institute, a body that was asked by LCC to advise on and validate the consultation process did not do so at the time and asked that its logo be removed from the final report.

The summary to the report closed with the words: “There was a strong call for LCC’s library proposals to be reconsidered by the Executive on 3rd December 2013 in light of the strength of participants feeling.”

The very strong and widespread feelings that were expressed against the proposals were ignored and the plans were enacted largely unchanged.

The details of the evidence concerning shortcomings both in the process of change and the resulting outcome are too extensive to include in full in this covering letter and so I am submitting them to you in the form of three appended reports:

• Appendix 1 – A Paper on the Performance of Lincolnshire Library Service in Comparison to Other Rural Authorities
• Appendix 2 – A Critical Analyses of the Consultation Process
• Appendix 3 – A Paper on Changes in the Library Service in Lincolnshire in Relation to the Requirements of the Public Libraries and Museums Act 1964

I am mindful that you do have the difficult job of ensuring that a delicate balance is struck between a council’s right to take local decisions on local services, and overseeing the statutory duty on local authorities to provide a comprehensive and efficient library service, a duty that the government has stated it intends to maintain.

The prime concern here is that LCC have unilaterally decided to remove most of their sites and the whole of the mobile service from the national statutory library system, and therefore remove them from the positive sphere of influence of the government, including your national supervisory oversight. LCC do not appear to have produced any explanation as to why taking this action would be of benefit to residents.

It should be made clear that this is not a simple revision or reorganisation of the service. LCC have described it as redesigning the service “ from scratch.”

Libraries are only being retained in urban locations that are, because of the rural nature of the county, beyond reasonable reach of 26% of households adding to the problem of rural isolation. Most importantly, changes in Lincolnshire mean that more active borrowers residing in areas in the top 20% most deprived nationally will be in the service gap compared to the current network

The government have indicated that a ‘comprehensive and efficient’ library service represents the balance to be struck by each local authority in meeting local needs within the context of available resources in a way which is appropriate to the identified needs of the communities they serve.
This statement from the government stresses the importance of solutions being closely tailored to local needs.

In making these changes LCC has not looked at the needs of, or canvased opinion from, any of the widely diverse communities where the statutory service is to be discontinued. The needs of each of the communities were not assessed or analysed. Consultation documentation related only to generic tiers of service to be delivered countywide and input from particular communities were not isolated and so cannot have been taken account of.

No arguments have been put forward or rationale given by LCC to explain why the people of Lincolnshire would need a lower level of library services than those in other parts of the country. On the contrary, the consultation showed that the public locally placed a very high value on libraries.

The government have confirmed the value of making comparisons when assessing an appropriate level of service “The detailed reports, produced by CIPFA, will help library authorities ensure they are delivering a good level of service and review any areas for improvement.”

LCC have not explained why they consider it appropriate that the local service should be reduced to less than half the number of library buildings per head of population than are provided in other rural counties or why, given that within comparable LA’s a “comprehensive” staff level is considered to be in the range of 20 to 30 library staff per 100000 pop, they consider an appropriate figure for Lincolnshire to be only 12.8?

The budget for frontline services in Lincolnshire will be £6087 per 1000 pop pa. This is around half the expenditure that the cohort of 15 similar rural local authorities given in the CIPFA report require to enable them to provide what they regard as a “comprehensive” service, the average figure being £11,983 per 1000 pop.

Lincolnshire already performs poorly in terms of library usage compared to other, similar authorities being lowest of all 16 authorities in terms of active borrowers per head of population in a recent CIPFA report It seems unlikely that the general population of the county has a particular aversion to using library services, a more plausible explanation is the one put forward within the report which suggested that the authority was “not engaging” as well with the population as it should.

LCC have redesigned the service “from scratch” yet the requirement to improve engagement has been ignored, opening hours have been reduced across the board and no clearly identifiable improvements to any aspect of the service have been introduced.

The minister has in the past identified opening hours as being a prime indicator of the efficacy of a service. Here opening hours are to be reduced even within the remaining core libraries. A further cut in hours from those proposed was introduced following the consultation in order to provide funding for additional non-statutory mobile stops. This was despite residents concurring with the minister’s opinion and pinpointing opening hours as one of the most important criteria in the consultation results.

Data from the Beyond Boundaries project in which LCC took part shows that travel time is a “highly significant” factor in people’s usage of libraries and that there is a “very clear, rapid drop-off” in usage as travel time increases. The report also noted “there is an apparent social difference in this drop-off too, probably accounted for by the fact wealthier people tend to live out of town.”

The greatly increased travel times for the majority of the population brought about by the changes can only serve as a disincentive to library use which, with the continuing general lack of engagement, would seem to show LCC to be in contravention of the duty placed on the them by the 1964 Act of “encouraging both adults and children to make full use of the library service”

The lack of correlation between the value placed on the service by local people expressed in the consultation and the poor level of service decided on might be seen as confirming the strong suspicion that plans were fully formed before consultation took place.
Background documentation confirms this in clearly stating a number of decisions including that the exact number of 15 libraries is to be kept in the service had been determined before consultation as “decisions [that] had to be made before consultation and cannot be influenced”

A full analysis of the numerous errors and omissions that blighted the consultation process is given in Appendix 2 but two items might be highlighted which might be construed as being beyond simple errors:

• Lincolnshire Research Observatory were asked to investigate the effects of public travel times to the 15 core libraries, this report was delivered in September 2012. Notwithstanding it’s key relevance to the matters being consulted on, this report as well as a number of others was not made readily available in the documentation for the following years consultation. It is of particular concern that this significant document was added to the consultation page of the council’s website only after consultation closed.

• At the bottom of page 14 in notes from the Libraries Consultation mid-term review meeting held on 15th of August 2013 obtained under FOI there is the statement “when people find out that the co-op might obtain some sites, there will be a whiff of favouritism.” Although the person making the statement is not detailed in the notes, the use of the phrase “when people find out” is concerning and a strong indication that important information was deliberately being withheld from the public.

Within their documents LCC make numerous references to the concept of efficiency, however there is a complete absence of any analysis, comparative figures or calculations given to measure or explore the extent of any perceived inefficiency in the existing service or to demonstrate how efficiency might be improved by the changes that are to be made.

Having made these calculations for myself using the council’s own figures, I have discovered that in terms of value for money, the amount of service provided for each pound of public money spent, the changes will make the service less financially efficient than it is currently.

Current and future provision compared in terms of cost efficiency by hours and staffing:

• Current provision £6.086m/74031 hours pa = £82.21 per open hour
• New provision £4.351m/31460 hours pa = £138.30 per open hour
• Therefore changes add £56.09 over current costs for every hour that a library is open

• Current provision £6.086m/142.24=£42,787 per FTE staff member
• New provision £4.351m/89.701=£48,505 per FTE staff member
• Therefore changes add £5,718 per year to current costs for each full time equivalent staff member employed

Given these multiple outstanding issues with both the process and the outcome of changes I have demonstrated that the local authority has not properly or fairly handled this controversial local issue, with particular regard to the need to consult with an open mind before taking decisions and the requirement to maintain a comprehensive and efficient service for “for all persons desiring to make use thereof” .

I hope that the minister will agree with me that a local inquiry is appropriate in this case because there are substantial uncertainties as to compliance with the statutory duty both in terms of comprehensiveness and efficiency, and indications that public consultation and discussion of proposals have been seriously flawed and inadequate.

There is a very limited window available before changes that would be difficult and expensive to reverse are put into place, and I would ask you to ascertain the facts for yourself by directing that an inquiry take place without delay.

I will be happy to provide you with additional information and supporting documentation on request.

Finally, I have noted that, in reviewing other recent requests for inquiries into library services the minister has given consideration to a number of factors. I felt it might be helpful if I outlined the circumstances in Lincolnshire with reference to each of these points:

You may consider that there is serious doubt or uncertainty as to whether the Council is (or may cease to be) complying with its legal obligation to provide a comprehensive and efficient library service.

• Lincolnshire is to introduce a service countywide that falls considerably short of the level that similar authorities deem to be comprehensive.
• The ratio of professional library staff to population is to be far below all other authorities in the same CIPFA cohort, about half of that provided by the next lowest.
• The number of libraries for the population will less than half that of the next lowest authority in the CIPFA comparative data.
• Libraries will be sited only in urban locations, out of reach of 25% of the population, and travel times will significantly increase for a great number of users, maybe even for the majority of the population.
• The effectiveness of services provided in mitigation has not been clearly established. They will be inefficient and do not seem to be properly funded for the demands that will be placed upon them.
• The quantity of service delivered for each pound spent will be reduced suggesting a reduction in financial efficiency.
• Targeted services will need to be provided for a large section of the population. There is evidence that these will be underfunded and so unable to effectively contribute to delivering a comprehensive service. Targeted services are likely to be a less efficient way to supply service in an area than a conventional static site.

You may consider that the Council appears to have acted in a careless or unreasonable way.

• When the decision was made to cut around £2million from frontline library services the figure seems to have been selected in an arbitrary way. It could not have been based on the detailed costing of plans as, at that time, no plans for change had been published or consulted on. Therefore, at the time that the decision to cut the budget was made, the council could not have known if the remaining sum budgeted would or would not be sufficient to provide a comprehensive service.
• In developing the plans, a very generalised countywide approach was used and the council did not look at the impact that changes would have on the specific communities concerned or vulnerable people within them.
• Consultation did not take place at a local level and so the opinions and suggestions relating to the sites to be closed have not been collected or assessed.
• Key documents were not made readily available at the time of the consultation; there is some evidence that information was being deliberately withheld.
• Documents show that important decisions had already been taken before consultation. This is clear evidence that LCC could not have had an open mind when considering the product of the consultation.
• There is further evidence that public opinion was not taken into account when forming the plans, in that consultation took place at the very end of the process and concurrently with tendering for community libraries and detailed staff briefings on redundancy arrangements.
• The consultation process was not endorsed at the time by a relevant body who were asked to do so, strongly suggesting that it was seriously defective.
• The product of the consultation was largely ignored

You may consider the decision was outside the proper bounds of the Council’s discretion, in that insufficient effort was made to identify vulnerable groups in each of the local communities producing uncertainty that their needs have been met.

• More active borrowers residing in areas in the top 20%, 10% and 2% most deprived nationally will be in a “service gap” compared to the current network.
• The failure to carry out a needs assessment or EIA at each of the local communities where statutory service is to be withdrawn means that the impact on vulnerable groups in those areas is unknown.

You may consider that the Council has failed to explain, analyse or properly justify its proposals.

• The explanation that removing overlaps of catchments will address efficiency is flawed. A service without overlaps may be less efficient than a service with overlaps as a result of the wide gaps in service that the removal of overlaps can produce, as is the case here.
• No analysis or figures have been provided to support a claim that the current service is inefficient or that the new service will be more efficient.
• Given the value placed on the service within the consultation results, no explanation has been provided as to why the service in terms of staff and buildings is to be so much less than that regarded as comprehensive in other similar parts of the country.

You may consider that the local proposals are likely to lead to a breach of national library policy.

• The concept of a national library policy must include the assumption that a certain level of service is maintained, so that citizens in one part of the county are not unduly disadvantaged in comparison to others. The unilateral decision to reduce service across the whole of the second largest county in England, to well below that offered elsewhere will produce the type of serious inconsistency in service that a national library policy and the provisions of the 1964 Act seek to avoid.

You may consider that substantial further investigation is needed. A local inquiry is likely to be appropriate in this case because there are substantial uncertainties as to compliance with the statutory duty, little substantive engagement with the local authority and inadequate public consultation and discussion of proposals.

• The removal of service from 25% of the population, a much increased travel time for most of the remainder, a very poor service in comparison to other rural areas and a demonstrable reduction in efficiency, all call compliance with statutory duty into question. A detailed report on these matters is available on request.
• The inadequacy and errors in the conduct of consultation is touched on above and is detailed in Appendix 2.

• At one of the meetings held as part of the consultation process, a suggestion was put forward that LCC might consider joining forces with two other County Library Authorities, to pool resources and save money from management and support areas, rather than the frontline. It was said by the LCC spokesperson that this had already been looked at, but did not release enough savings. No information about such a review has been found, and it was not mentioned in any of the proposal papers.

You may take into account the advantages of local decision making by expert and democratically accountable local representatives.

• While local decision making may normally be of advantage, in this case the unilateral withdrawal of statutory status from the majority of the local services will remove from these elected members, who administer a rural county, their proper accountability to parliament for the maintenance of an appropriate level of library service outside of a limited number of urban areas.
• The Arts Council and the LGA have recently published guiding principles for authorities on issues relating to the role of volunteers in community supported and community managed libraries. This details how community libraries can form part of a local authority’s network of libraries, through which it fulfils its statutory duties. LCC have chosen not to follow that model and to make all sites beyond the 15 core locations non-statutory.
• The minister may wish to ask the local decision makers what benefit they feel the local populace gains by their removing her statutory supervision and oversight from the majority of the service in the county.

You may consider there are further good reasons why a local inquiry would be appropriate.

• The government has said, “The detailed reports, produced by CIPFA, will help library authorities ensure they are delivering a good level of service and review any areas for improvement.”
• In redesigning its service LCC did not look at its provision in relationship to other authorities in the light of the CIPFA reports as the government suggested.
• There is a marked discrepancy between the uniformly low spending on front line services in the county and spending on support services, which is the very highest in the sector at over two and a half times more than average. The changes produce a further 33% reduction in frontline spending thus increasing the already very large disparity between front line and back office budgets.
• In a speech to the “Future of Library Services “ Conference in June 2012 Mr Ed Vaizey said “if one authority is spending twice as much on book stock as another, but providing a similar number of books, we can ask if there are ways to improve efficiency in the authority in question”.
• LCC is spending more than twice as much on support services as other authorities but providing less service to the public. This is the just the sort of inefficiency that Mr Vaizey refers to and it would be hoped that your department would want to ask, within the context of a wider inquiry, why this was not addressed as part of the “from scratch” redesign of the service that has taken place.

Yours Sincerely

Mr Maurice Nauta

Please support Maurice by contacting your MP about his letter. 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/

Click here to open the fuller PDF version of letter (approx 20 pages) which includes full appendices Open Letter to The Rt Hon Maria Miller MP re LCC Intervention Call. Click here to read Maurice Nauta’s statement about this letter

Councils that Listen

Recent cases of councils in the UK who have responded to public outcry and withdrawn their current library plans. Latest first:

ENGLAND

12) WALSALL

27 Feb 2015 – Birmingham Mail
Five Walsall libraries given a one-year stay of execution, as £655,000 funding found from reserve to cover costs.
http://www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/midlands-news/five-walsall-libraries-saved-budget-8733638

11) BRIGHTON AND HOVE CITY COUNCIL

Wednesday 25 February 2015

Baby groups in libraries in pipeline to be saved from cuts as more proposals retracted

Full story at ths link in The Arcus

10) PETERBOROUGH

24 February 2015 – Peterborough Telegraph

“Fears over changes to Peterborough’s libraries have led to a funding cut being reduced. An annual £350,000 saving is to be toned down after Peterborough City Council listened to feedback from concerned residents.”

http://www.peterboroughtoday.co.uk/what-s-on/latest-leisure-lifestyle/funding-cut-to-peterborough-s-libraries-reduced-during-consultation-1-6596203

9) HERTFORDSHIRE

13th Feb 2015 – Herts & Essex Observer
Hertfordshire | Paid staff to stay at Sawbridgeworth Library and Stortford’s
“We have listened carefully to residents’ views and have adapted the strategy in light of this.”
http://www.hertsandessexobserver.co.uk/Paid-staff-stay-library-petition/story-26013055-detail/story.html

8) STAFFORDSHIRE

11th Feb 2015 – Staffordshire Newsletter
Victory for Penkridge Lib campaigners as Staffordshire CC rethinks plans
http://www.staffordshirenewsletter.co.uk/Victory-Penkridge-Library-campaigners/story-26003349-detail/story.html

7) SANDWELL

4th Feb 2015 – Express & Star
Five under-threat Sandwell libraries saved from axe
Some could move to share buildings with other services while extra volunteers could also be recruited to help run them.
http://www.expressandstar.com/news/2015/02/04/five-under-threat-sandwell-libraries-saved-from-axe/

6) LIVERPOOL

Nov 2014 – Liverpool Echo
Reprieve for 11 Liverpool libraries earmarked for closure after £1.6m savings found 
http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/reprieve-11-liverpool-libraries-earmarked-8079868

5) LEICESTERSHIRE

Sept 2014 – Burton Mail
Public force North-West Leicestershire library closure re-think
http://www.burtonmail.co.uk/Public-force-North-West-Leicestershire-library/story-22920154-detail/story.html

4) KIRKLEES

No U-turn in Kirklees, so far, under Labour – but  the Opposition Tories pledge a significant one if they are elected:

9th Feb 2015 – Dewsbury Reporter
Conservatives pledge to keep all libraries open
http://www.dewsburyreporter.co.uk/news/local/conservatives-pledge-to-keep-all-libraries-open-1-7097613

WALES

3) CARDIFF

10th Feb 2015 – Wales Online
Cardiff libraries are saved as people power wins the day – and the plan to axe funding for 7 libraries is dropped
But the council is still going to look at alternative ways of providing library services.
http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/cardiffs-threatened-libraries-saved-city-8617864

2) MONMOUTHSHIRE

Nov 2014 – South Wales Argus
Monmouthshire Rethink on council libraries jobs axe
http://www.southwalesargus.co.uk/news/11625356.Rethink_on_council_libraries_jobs_axe/

SCOTLAND

1) WEST DUNBARTONSHIRE

6th Feb 2015 – CILIPScotland
West Dunbartonshire Council withdraws library closure proposals
http://www.cilips.org.uk/news/2015/2/6/west-dunbartonshire-council-withdraws-library-closure-propos.html