A march through Lincoln was followed by a rally on Saturday as 400 protestors called for Lincolnshire County Council Cabinet members to re-think plans to make drastic cuts to library services.
Grantham South County Councillor Charmaine Morgan, who is also a member of the Save Lincolnshire Libraries campaign group, joined the protestors. There are currently 47 libraries across the county but it is proposed to keep only 15 unless volunteers step forward. Visits to over 300 mobile library stops will cease leaving rural communities isolated.
Coun Morgan said: “Whilst Grantham Library will remain open it is earmarked to lose five hours a week. This will have a significant effect on some of its key services which are already stretched. For example, 95 hours’ computer time will be lost as a result and 10 hours’ wi-fi access. Being able to access IT service is critical to those needing to look for work. With villages losing mobile library services and some still without broadband our library provides a key service.”
Campaigners have collected over 20,000 petition signatures to date. While the council’s Public Consultation Period ends on September 30, Save Lincolnshire Libraries has decided to continue its petition opposing the changes until December when a decision is due to be made by County Council Cabinet members.
Councillor Morgan said: “There are still high numbers of people affected who are unaware of the details of the cuts. We believe that as many people as possible should have their say. Our council must meet legal requirements and consider an alternative way of balancing the budget to save frontline services.”
Councillor Mark Ashberry, petitioning at ASDA on Wednesday, said: “Save Lincolnshire Libraries is a cross-party campaign group. Following a petitioning session in ASDA this Wednesday, Grantham campaigners will continue petitioning in the Sir Isaac Newton Centre.”
Councillor Ashberry added on Facebook: “The amount of budget being cut is only 0.177% of LCC’s £1,073 million budget for 2013/14!”
Schools are also being invited to take part in a competition sponsored by Unison which is defending 175 potential job losses. Anyone wanting more information, or to join the campaign can contact Councillor Morgan on 01476 57478.