Anger over plans to close libraries

FULL DEBATE:  Deepings campaigners have triggered a full debate on library cutbacks by collecting 7,000 signatures on their petition.
FULL DEBATE: Deepings campaigners have triggered a full debate on library cutbacks by collecting 7,000 signatures on their petition.

Library closures are getting South Holland residents hot under the collar.

Lincolnshire County Council aims to shift more than 30 libraries into private hands – volunteers, companies or community groups – to save almost £2 million.

If no one comes forward, communities in places like Holbeach, Donington, Pinchbeck and Crowland will be left with mobile library services.

Bert Spencer, from Holbeach St Marks, uses Holbeach Library and says: “The Government is closing the country down. We blame the county council but it’s the one at the top.

“We have got a lovely little library in Holbeach but it’s closing down. I can’t see the need or the point of any of it.”

Spalding man Barry Drew has just got back from Holbeach’s twin town, Sezanne, where the French have built “an absolutely beautiful new library” including a music school.

He says villages are losing services so why not combine libraries with post offices and shops.

Elizabeth Brothwell also lives in Spalding, where the library is safe, but says closures are “wrong”.

She said: “I read cookery books, gardening books and all sorts of books every week.”

Pinchbeck Library is handy for village resident Charlotte Carr and daughters Poppy (5) and Daisy, aged eight months, and has free parking, unlike Spalding.

Charlotte said: “Poppy goes through the children’s section and gets a whole library worth of books and Daisy goes to the music group.”

Sutton Bridge resident Eric Southon said: “It’s terrible isn’t it? It’s all volunteers now. Years ago you had to go to college to pass exams and get a librarian’s degree.”

Alexandra McNamee (6), from Moulton Chapel, uses Spalding Library and says: “I like what they put in their books.”

She says children losing their libraries “will be sad.”

* Deepings residents have triggered a debate by the full county council on library cutbacks by handing in a petition with 7,800 signatures.
Labour county councillor Phil Dilks says nine members of the council executive have the final say, but the petition will give all 77 elected members a chance to speak.
He said Lincolnshire’s library visits have gone up from 2.7 million ten years ago to three million.
Coun Dilks said: “We are campaigning hard to keep our council run library – and our professional librarians.
“It’s bizarre that a billion pound county council which underspent by £1million every week last year is threatening closure of 33 of its 47 libraries to save £1.9million.
“It’s cultural vandalism – the most draconian cuts in the 160-year history of library provision in this country.
“It’s now time for the nine members of the executive to listen to the voices of reason and scrap their discredited plan.”
Deepings campaigners say some libraries on the council’s “safe list” are less well used than Market Deeping Library and it too should be saved.
South Holland and The Deepings MP John Hayes has backed The Deepings campaign – and the petition was also signed by county council leader Martin Hill.
• A meeting to save the library will be held at 7.30pm on September 10 in Deepings School Conference Centre.