22 Apr 2011

Library campaign update

So earlier in the budget Osbourne cut Corporation Tax. Well 521 libraries are due to be closed or are under threat. The average cost of running a library is £300,000.  This means that only 1% of the corporation tax being lost by the Exchequer would keep all closed or threatened libraries open!

Pic Poet Marcus Moore at a mobile library as part of the Save Libraries Day 'Flying Authors' tour

The library campaign continues in Glos - for those wanting to get an update it is worth reading Demelza and the speech she delivered to the Gloucestershire branch of the WI. She spoke for the libraries resolution they are considering putting forward to central Government. Cllr Hawthorne was supposed to be there to speak against the resolution but unfortunately he dropped out. See here.

Four key library campaigners have also travelled to Westminster to meet with officials from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). DCMS is the central government department with responsibility for superintending local authority's provision of library services, and the purpose of the meeting was to explain county library users' grave concerns around GCC's plans for devastating and ill-thought out cuts to the service. I hope DCMS take this issue as seriously as residents in Gloucestershire - I am sure topics covered would have included the strength of opposition to the Council's plans amongst Gloucestershire library users (15,000 signature county-wide petition, plus numerous petitions from local communities); the considerable shortcomings in the Council's consultation and decision making process; the seeming disregard of deprivation indices in making cuts; concerns over the practicality of plans for 'community libraries', 'Library Links', and the proposed online 'replacement' for the mobile service; plus perhaps concerns that the Council is acting in breach of the 1964 Public Libraries Act.

Meanwhile we now learn in a ruling that mobile libraries are not libraries!! See here.

Lastly there’s still time to have your say on the opening hours of your local library. Do you go to the library in the morning or afternoon? Can you get to the library by bus? Would you like the library to open in the evening? These are just some of the things library users are being asked to consider as part of the consultation which runs until 30th April. I fear many might not bother to complete forms as no one seemed to listen last time....Surveys can be found in libraries around the county or online at www.gloucestershire.gov.uk/libraries

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