BREAKING – 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.
Editorial reproduced from Public Libraries News March 31, 2015:
[Minister for Culture] Mr Vaizey has again decided not to intervene in a library service that is severely reducing its number of branches and budget. In his letter saying he is “minded not to intervene” in Lincolnshire, he makes it clear that 15 static libraries, online provision and a housebound book delivery service meet the statutory requirement for provision. It accepts that the other 30 branches can be closed or passed to volunteers but, crucially, does not include them in making its final judgement – they are therefore effectively entirely optional and the council can do with them as it pleases, electorate willing. The county council of Lincolnshire accounts for around 682,500 people so that raises the bar to 45,500 people per branch library being an acceptable figure. So those who think that one should have a library in anything smaller than a middle to large town should consider writing to the minister before 24th April. It’s worth bearing in mind, by the way, that that ratio would mean the secretary of state would be happy with less than one thousand libraries in all of England: 1800 – or two-thirds – fewer than now. It is also worth noting that Lincoln, which has a population of 94600 would only have one branch under the council’s proposals. One of the reasons for this acceptance appears to be that housebound library services are a “replacement” for those who cannot get into a local library, which is a scary thing where someone delivering the books to an incapacitated person in their own home can be used as an excuse to close down a vital service.
Any such representations should be sent to the Ministerial Support Team, Department for Culture, Media and Sport, 100 Parliament Street, London, SW1A 2BQ or by email to email@example.com by 5.00pm on Friday 24 April 2015. The
Secretary of State will then consider the representations made.
Read the nine page letter from Ed Vaizey here: Link to Ed Vaizey Letter
HELP WITH YOUR LETTER – YOUR VIEWS AND EXPERIENCES REALLY MATTER
1.”The Secretary of State (S.o.S.) wishes to invite further representations as to his proposed decision from library users, the Council, or other interested persons.”Write to The Ministerial Support Team, Department for Culture Media and Sport, 100 Parliament Street, London, SW1A 2BQ or email to firstname.lastname@example.org, by 5pm. on Friday 24th April.
2. His key factors are listed on p.3/4. How will our service to stand up to these? Are there any other factors he should be looking at? Does anyone know what the national library policy is?
3. The paper states that the S.o.S. cannot intervene in the procurement process currently underway. Why can’t he? Was he being kept in touch (as he should have been ) with the process of considering 2 alternative bids. Both of those would provide a service offering better value for money. What do you think?
4.Will reduction from 40 core libraries to 15 still retain a comprehensive and efficient service?
5. On p.5, and p.6 he seems to agree that all the Tier 3 and 4 libraries can go outside of the statutory service (ie not protected by the overview of the S.o.S.) Comments on this. Will it mean their closure ultimately?
6. On p.6 he refers to the decline in the number of books borrowed, but does not refer to footfall in our libraries . Comments on your own experiences of access (opening times), bookstock, usage etc.
7. Pages 7/8 He suggest that the Home Library Service can replace the local library service to 19% of people whom he acknowledges will be outside the Council’s own 30 minute travel time aim.
8. Page 8. He “ does not consider there is any serious doubt or uncertainty as to whether the Council is complying with its legal obligation.” Comment on this.
9. Page 8. Both consultations showed almost total opposition to LCC’s proposals, yet he feels that the two together “appear to adequately seek to engage with and secure views of Lincolnshire residents.” What do you think?
10. Page 9. “The s.o.s. considers that the Council has consulted with the local community and has reasonably explained, analysed and properly justified their proposals.” Do you agree?