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Volunteering to run libraries is a mistake, say protesters

Campaigners against Lincolnshire library service cuts said volunteers ‘made a mistake’ as they protested the roll-out of reduced opening hours on May 6.

The protest took place at Lincoln Central Library from 8.45, handing out leaflets against cuts.

Under plans imposed by Lincolnshire County Council, neighbourhood libraries will see their opening hours cut by over a third in an effort to save £2 million per year from its budget.

Campaigner Nick Parker said: “It was a mistake for anyone to volunteer for the council’s scheme. They’ve got a statutory obligation to deliver a service and so people should have boycotted the idea altogether.

“If no one volunteered to run the libraries the council would have been forced to carry on to fund it.

“My opinion is that people have been scared and bullied into becoming  volunteers.”

Lincoln Central Library user Robert Harrison said: “I’m disgusted at what the county council has done. People are coming forward to run the libraries but only because they have been blackmailed into it.

“My banner today reads: Volunteers are not a substitute for the expertise of professional librarians.

“I pay my council tax and I am getting a volunteer service now, it’s disgraceful. There was no alternative on offer and its not good enough. It’s a sad day for Lincolnshire.”

“I think for a lot of people library services are a way of life: its access to facilities, its meeting people and its the freedom to use the space.

“The new opening hours enforced today in Lincoln will mean that anyone with a 9-5 job will loose the right to visit their library during the week.”