Campaigners in the High Court to quash mass closure of Lincolnshire Libraries

Lincs High Court activists at Lincoln Station

Lincs High Court activists at Lincoln Station

10-30 this morning in the High Court in London, Simon Draper v Lincolnshire County Council, a very important test case, the outcome of which could have major implications for the future of public libraries across the country.

Campaigners are challenging the crass stupidity and legality of a bunch of Philistines at Lincolnshire County Council of a policy of mass closure of public libraries, two-thirds of the public libraries to be closed and of the remaining third, opening hours to be drastically reduced. 30 out of 44 libraries libraries are to be closed.

Lincoln resident Simon Draper is challenging the council’s decision on four grounds as follows:

  • Lincolnshire County council will no longer be providing a comprehensive and efficient library service as required by section 7 of the Public Libraries and Museums Act
  • the consultation process was unlawful on the grounds that the outcome of consultation had been pre-determined and the basis of the information given for it was misleading
  • the Council failed to give proper consideration to the needs of vulnerable people including the elderly, children and disabled people as required under the Equalities Act
  • the Council did not give sufficient consideration to the bid from Greenwich Leisure to run the library service as required under the Localism Act

The 1964 Public Libraries and Museums Act states:

It shall be the duty of every library authority to provide a comprehensive and efficient library service for all persons desiring to make use thereof.

Mass closure of libraries is not compliant with the legislation, as the county council is failing in its statutory obligations.

Lincolnshire is a rural county, the second largest county in England. Many rural populations will be without a library service, those that have, will find reduced hours.

The elderly will lose out, who rely on a library. It gets them out and about, keeps their mind active, keeps them physically fit, they socialise.

The poor will lose out, kids from deprived backgrounds, who lack books in the home, where the home is not conducive to study.

Central Library in Lincoln will see its hours reduced to 50 hours a week. It will be the only library left in Lincoln, the branch libraries will be closed.

Reduced mobile library service with over 100 stops disappearing and no service for small and isolated villages.

170 library staff will lose their jobs.

The council will save £2 million. It has a £42 million underspend.

The Philistines at the council are rapidly running out of friends, assuming they had any in the first place. They have been roundly condemned by library users in Lincolnshire, by a whole galaxy of writers, and even local members of parliament are distancing themselves from their crass decision.

To tally with the High Court Judicial reviews, please Thunderclap, set it reverberating around the net, let the whole world know.

Save Lincolnshire Libraries will be using the hashtag #LibraryJudicialReview on twitter to post updates.

Re-posted on Medium.

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