30 Dec 2010

Sign today for our Gloucestershire libraries!

I know folk are busy at this time of year but please spare a few minutes for this one.....please sign today (details below) as we want as many as poss signatures before the Council next meet!!! Over 3,000 people have already done so.

Photo: view across Gloucester on a cold morning

We are all campaigning to get the County Council to reconsider the severe and disproportionate cut of £2.5 million (43%) to the public library service currently being proposed. See my letter (for background info) to press before Christmas here. These cuts are unprecedented - no where else in the country is there such a savage slash to library services.

I understand Points West interviewed Councillor Noble. During the interview, Councillor Noble reported that the County Council’s legal team had looked into the question of whether the proposed cuts contravened the Public Libraries Act 1964 and had come to the conclusion that they did not. This is an issue I raised in my letter to the press and elsewhere. I hear that a copy of the full legal report has been requested under the Freedom of Information Act. Under the Library Act, Councils are required to investigate the social impact of proposed changes to services. I am not convinced that the County Council has made a proper assessment on this basis - and indeed on their other planned cuts....but that is another story....

Sign Petition

As noted there is now an online version of the county wide petition. You can access and fill in the petition by registering (takes 2 mins) and then signing at this address: http://glostext.gloucestershire.gov.uk/mgEPetitionDisplay.aspx?ID=8

This petition is only open to those living, working or studying in Gloucestershire. Please do not sign the online petition if you have already signed the paper version. If you do fill in both, your second signature cannot be counted. Please send the online petition URL to as many interested people as possible. The deadline for the e-petition is 17th February 2011.

As also noted before there is a Friends campaigning group, which is entirely voluntary and not affiliated to any political party or trade union - they are seeking to raise awareness of the impact of the cuts on communities across the County and organising a petition to be presented to the County Council calling for an urgent, independent and transparent review of the plans. The Group’s website www.foclibrary.wordpress.com details the County’s proposals, the reasons for opposing them, and the efforts being made to raise awareness of their impact.

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