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Save Lincolnshire Libraries: Helen Goodman, Labour's Shadow Libraries Minister, visits Ermine Library tomorrow

By Lincolnshire Echo  |  Posted: April 14, 2014

Helen Goodman MP speaks to Save Lincolnshire Library campaigners in Westminster last Tuesday

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Save Lincolnshire Libraries campaigners are welcoming Helen Goodman, Labour’s Shadow Libraries Minister, to Lincoln’s Ermine Library tomorrow.

Ermine is one of the 30 libraries Lincolnshire County Council is threatening to close if they cannot find volunteers to run them.

Helen will be arriving at 10.45am to meet with local library users and supporters of Save Lincolnshire Libraries.

At a meeting in the House of Commons last Tuesday, campaigners invited Helen to come and see for herself the situation in Lincolnshire.

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Ermine Library is currently open 27 hours a week with three library staff assisted by volunteers.

The council is planning to cut its opening hours to 16 hours from May 6 and to stop staffing it altogether from April 2015.

It serves a catchment area of 22,000 people.

In 2012/2013, 52,569 books were borrowed along with thousands of DVDs and CDs.

In addition, people of all ages used its computers for hundreds of hours.

It was refurbished only 3 years ago.

Councillor Judy Renshaw, the County Councillor for the Ermine area said: “I am delighted that Helen Goodman has taken up our invitation to come and meet us at Ermine Library on Tuesday.

“What the council are planning to do at Ermine is outrageous.

“They are closing our library on Mondays, reducing hours on other days and closing it on Friday mornings.

“Friday morning is the most popular time of the week – a large group of toddlers and their mums come and there’s storytelling, singing, crafts – all sorts going on, even reading.

“The early lessons of social interaction are a foundation for future community cohesion.

“These users were not counted or made mention of in Lincolnshire County Council’s case for closure as they did not accord with a predetermined programme of destruction of the library service.

“The county council needs to stop undermining Ermine Library and start understanding the vital part it plays in our community.”

The council aims to save £1.7m by handing over 30 libraries to communities to run and axing more than 100 mobile library stops.

Councillor Nick Worth, Executive Member for Libraries, said: "We wanted to give volunteers enough time to lay firm foundations for the future. So, we agreed to run the libraries at reduced hours, until they were ready to take over.

"Our existing community-run libraries, such as Saxilby and Waddington, have seen a great increase in opening hours, thanks to the efforts of volunteers.

"Unfortunately, the judicial review will inevitably delay this happening elsewhere. However, we hope to have all community-run libraries up and running by the end of March next year."

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  • Bobrkh  |  April 14 2014, 6:08PM

    I am pleased to hear Helen Goodman is planning to visit the Ermine Library tomorrow and congratulations to the representatives of Save Lincolnshire Libraries who travelled to London to make national politicians aware of the council's proposals. I am sure David Cameron's vision of his "big society" did not for a moment envisage local councillors blackmailing people into "volunteering" to run libraries, by threatening to close them if they did not. Having been informed that Mr. Cameron has now passed on the book of quotations and petition to Sajid Javid the new Culture secretary, I would expect to see a visit from him, or if too busy with only recently starting his new appointment, for him to send a strong message to the members of Lincolnshire County Council to think again.

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