School pupils, head teachers, parents and library users met today to hand in a 762-strong petition to Lincolnshire County Council, with the hopes to retain funding for the county’s libraries.
Representatives from Ling Moor, Fosse Way and South Hykeham primary schools made the appeal on November 20, ahead of a formal meeting set to take place on November 22, to discuss revised library plans.
The initial plans, announced earlier this year, included closing or handing down to volunteers over 30 libraries across Lincolnshire, with some 170 job losses, in a bid to save £2 million per year.
Handing over the newest petition at the Lincolnshire County Council offices, were school children from the three primary schools who held up banners and handed over the signatures to Nigel West, Lincolnshire County Council Democratic Services Manager.
The petition was arranged by parent Kay Gibson, whose family will be affected by the changes. “We are handing this petition in today to give the children and their parents more of a voice,” said Kay.
“A lot of them express to me how important this library is to them, and how much it means to keep it funded by the Lincolnshire County Council.
“Unfortunately the official [consultation] closing date was just a few weeks after the schools went back. There was not enough time for the schools to get prepared for this.”
Over 22,000 petition signatures have been handed in to Lincolnshire County Council previously.
Rosina Gough, a member of the North Hykeham Library User Group is against the funding cuts. “It’s such an important community school area. Elderly people have said to me that if they didn’t come to this library each week then they probably wouldn’t have spoken to anyone.
“A lot of job seekers come and use it every single day because they have to put in so many hours every day job searching. It’s not just a book depository, it is a big community resource that’s so important to us all.
“I think the council have really underestimated how people will feel if they do lose their libraries.”
The Fosse Way Primary School children were keen to support the cause and many parents were involved in signing the petition.
“I started using the library when I was really little. I remember the first book I took out, it was ‘You Can Never Laugh at a Giraffe”, said Oliver (10), from Fosse Way.
Asher (10), from Fosse Way, said: “We want to save our library because they always have the best new books in and they are always really expensive to buy from the shops.”
“I don’t think I would read as much as I do if I didn’t have a library to go to” added Cordelia (10) from Fosse Way.
One ‘Save Lincolnshire Libraries’ campaigner from Birchwood, Lincoln has suggested that ‘adequate time’ had not been given for consideration and response from the county council.
The proposals were said to not be ‘at a formative stage’ as the plan to cut in access of 30 libraries was formed in 2010 at the earliest, shortly after the Central Government’s spending review.