Having attended the Spalding consultation, arranged at 2pm on a working day – not a very convenient time for most residents – I was surprised to find it was not intended to debate if Lincolnshire County Council should cut funding for libraries.
That has already been decided, probably before the county elections (strange how sitting candidates did not mention it in their election leaflets: “ If elected we promise to close or privatise your
local library” ).
The actual purpose of the meeting was to present the county’s excuses for withdrawing funding and find ways to shift the costs of libraries to someone else, in the business or voluntary sector, thus enabling them to claim they had kept them open.
Since we won’t know the outcome until December, this will have allowed the council,
with all their resources, possibly nine months to arrange the takeovers and ensure that communities have only four months to find an alternative
if they don’t like the outcome negotiated by local county councillors.
Since preparing a proper business plan is a huge job for any amateur group, it’s unlikely any such group could do so, particularly since many areas seem to have some sort of unknown bid in the pipeline
already. In other words, we’re well and truly stitched up.
I wonder what it cost to get Sheffield Halam university to run this sham of a consultation, no doubt necessary to comply with the law.
I did attempt to obtain information about library use, of a sort not available from the statistics released by Lincoln, from Holbeach branch but it seems staff have been told not to talk to anyone about matters related to the closures. They are not even allowed to let anyone put a petition in the library. It’s rather worrying that a member of a parish council can’t ask questions, that have nothing to do
with private matters, from those best qualified to answer them, about his local library branch.
Perhaps Nick Worth’s scheme will suitably fill the gap and it will last. I do hope so.
Holbeach parish councillor