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Council bans libraries closure petitions

By Lincolnshire Echo  |  Posted: July 09, 2013

Comments (9)

Public petitions against plans to cut the county’s library service will not be allowed inside library buildings.

Lincolnshire County Council says it will stop campaigners from placing paper petitions in libraries for people to sign.

It comes as councillors confirmed that radical plans to shut 32 libraries across Lincolnshire will go to public consultation.

The coalition-led authority’s cabinet members decided to press ahead with the controversial cost-cutting plans – advice from an authority watchdog in the process.

Last week, members of the communities scrutiny committee rejected the council’s proposals to close sites and cut 170 jobs.

They also opposed any consultation period with the public.

Nick Worth, executive member for libraries, said: “Clearly, there are people who will want to set up petitions opposing changes to the library service and they are free to do so.

“The reason for not allowing petitions in our libraries is that petitions are premature as no decisions have been made on the future of the library service.”

Head of libraries and heritage at Lincolnshire County Council Jonathan Platt says people should voice their concerns through the authority’s managed questionnaire instead.

He said: “I do not want petitions put into libraries.

“The public can voice their views through the questionnaire which is available online and in paper form in the libraries themselves.

The council says the consultation exercise has been launched to decide how many libraries are needed in the county – and how many people will be willing to run them as volunteers.

At present, only 15 of 47 county council-managed libraries would survive. And only 10 of them would be open on a full-time basis.

Councillor Worth added: “This is not about closing libraries.

“We want to keep them open. But we need volunteers to come forward and run them.

“Smart phones, tablets, Kindles and new technology are changing the way we do things.”

The consultation will run until Monday, September 30.

The proposals are part of the council’s aim to save £2 million from the libraries and heritage sector.

Leader of the opposition at county offices Chris Pain said: “UKIP councillors feel the authority has a statutory duty to provide a library service that is both efficient and cost effective.

“These public consultation proposals are not fit for purpose.

“The fact the executive has pushed through the proposals despite the communities scrutiny committee rejecting them, just means our council’s scrutiny committees are just for show.”

The UKIP leader added: “These cuts come at a time when, nationally we spend £7.8 billion each year to different countries abroad.”

So far, more than 260 people have signed an online petition against the cuts.

The petition has been set up on website www.change.org by library user Jasmin Poxton.

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  • kooljeff  |  July 13 2013, 12:03AM

    The Public Libraries & Museums Act 1964 makes it a legal duty for every council to provide a comprehensive and efficient library service. The Secretary of State at the DCMS has a legal duty to superintend and improve this service, and legal powers to intervene if council libraries are failing. Obey the Law Tory scum!

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  • TestificateMD  |  July 10 2013, 9:02AM

    So there's nothing to stop protests taking place on LCC Car Parks in front of library entrances?

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  • JaneThompson  |  July 09 2013, 8:19PM

    Before they cut ANY services they should reduce the back office pointless staff, slim the council down to a basic serving providing business model and deliver quality effective services that we deserve!

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  • pearhumbug40  |  July 09 2013, 3:45PM

    As it says It's a 'managed' questionnaire The consultation document states that the following can't be influenced. The number and definition of Tier 1 libraries; the number of Tier 2 libraries that can be provided; the amount of money available for Tier 3 libraries; and the definition of a Tier 4 library . I had thought they were trying to make the best service from a seriously reduced budget but some honesty would be appreciated as it seems to me that it is about closing Libraries. The consultation seems more targeted at recruiting volunteers than getting peoples views on the proposals. When a library closes they can then blame the residents for being apathetic. I would have thought councillors would welcome and encourage their officers to facilitate petitions or any communication from residents before decisions are taken. But if petitions were placed in libraries perhaps they are worried that usage may increase and the decision has already been taken.

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  • Pete67  |  July 09 2013, 2:56PM

    Arthrys - Julian_Stumm - GedlingTnPeck - - - Though I use my library it is not on the closures list. I do realise though all the people any closure will have a detrimental effect on, and this is why I give my full support to all the people fighting the closures.

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  • Arthrys  |  July 09 2013, 1:40PM

    Julian_Stumm - good call. Come on Echo, why not start talking to some of those that will be most affected by this, the implications to local communities and to the next generation? Have a look at what it would cost to re-open any of these again in the future, write about the problems of relying on volunteers to run services like this...wasn't a community library opened in Skegness recently, how successful has that been? If you want people to continue to buy your paper then be more than a voice for the powers that be, be a voice for your readers.

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  • Julian_Stumm  |  July 09 2013, 12:19PM

    Who the F do they think they are? They are *OUR* libraries. Please take up this cause Echo. If this isn't the council trying to gag people I dont know what is.

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  • Pete67  |  July 09 2013, 11:03AM

    It would seem that the council hate the truth and public opinion. Councillors like this don't deserve to do the job, and should be replaced by ones who will take notice of the people they are supposed to represent.

    |   12
  • GedlingTnPeck  |  July 09 2013, 9:34AM

    Typical County Council bullying tactics. When is a consultation not a consultation - when its run by Lincolnshire County Council. They want to avoid public opinion at all costs and heaven knows they particularly dont want to Library users to give their considered opinions through apetition in their libraries - they just dont want to listen. Supreme arrogance.

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