Save Lincolnshire Libraries campaigners fight their cause at scrutiny committee

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Campaigners for Save Lincolnshire Libraries went along to a meeting this week to speak in opposition to library service cuts.

It was a meeting of Lincolnshire County Council’s communities and public health scrutiny committee to debate the local authority’s proposal to cut services aross the county.

Among campaigners was Grantham county and district councillor Charmaine Morgan, who argued that the results of a public consultation “clearly showed overwhelming support to retain and improve existing library services”.

She went on to say that the law clearly stated all residents are entitled to access library services and that the new proposals such as telephone orders and online orders did not deliver the same experience. Meanwhile, Coun Ray Wootten, also on behalf of the district and county, said that there had been a recent increase in the use of Grantham Library.

In December 2013, LCC’s executive agreed cuts to the library service but was left red-faced when a High Court hearing forced by campaigners caused them to re-think the plans. Now, following additional work over the autumn, officers are recommending that councillors again endorse the plans that were previously agreed, with moves to hand over the running of the service to an outside body.

Under the proposals, hours at some of the county’s largest libraries – including Grantham – would be cut and volunteers asked to step in and run facilities elsewhere.

The final decision on library cuts will rest with the LCC executive.

Coun Morgan said: “Determined to cut £2 million from the library service budget, the Conservative Group has put the future of Lincolnshire’s library services irreversably at risk. It was clear they would rather take a chance with the future of over 30 libraries than rely on their Government’s promise of an improved economy.”