I would like to urge all readers of the Spalding Guardian to respond to the latest consultation on the future of libraries. It asks for alternative ways to save the £2m required to keep libraries open.
This is a difficult thing for lay people with little knowledge of county budgets to suggest but, if people are unsure how to respond to Lincolnshire County Council’s consultation, they shouldn’t do nothing.
For example, they could consider using their voice to ask the county to do one or more of the following to save or find the money needed:
1. Look again at the proposals by Mrs Palmer that were rejected last time. She is an experienced librarian and has come up with a plan to save the money and retain libraries under county council control by using her detailed knowledge of the library budgets.
2. Accept a bid by a charitable trust, such as Greenwich Leisure, to run the services. They would propose taking over libraries from the council, retaining the services and staffing. This would cost the county nothing once they are up and running, except maintenance of buildings they still own – which they would have to do anyway.
3. Accept that the amount of council tax they have in reserves (estimates are approximately £100,000 in total) is fully sufficient to meet further cuts and pay the £2m to retain libraries.
4. Look at unnecessary costs; councillors’ pay, allowances and expenses, glossy magazines, administration and ‘back office’ costs for example, until £2m of savings have been identified from somewhere else not needed as a front line service.
Book lovers, if you value your libraries, don’t let them think we’ve given up! We have a second chance – let’s use it!
Chairwoman, The Friends of Deeping Library