Posts Tagged ‘library closures’

Philistine councillors support mass closure of Lincolnshire Libraries

June 9, 2014
Save Lincolnshire Libraries

Save Lincolnshire Libraries

When a society destroys its libraries, you know there is something very sick at he heart of that society.

Lincolnshire County Council is planning what amounts to little more than wanton vandalism of its libraries. The county has seen nothing like this, not since the Vikings and Henry VIII ransacked the monasteries and destroyed centres of learning.

Why, because a bunch of Philistine councillors having decided libraries are not needed. Austerity, an excuses for Shock Doctrine, slash and burn of public services.

Lincoln saw its biggest ever demonstration, but those who took to the streets, were treated with arrogant contempt by county councillors.

It is not only Lincolnshire, where corrupt councillors and officials, in the pocket of Big Business and greedy developers, are failing to act for local communities.

People have had enough.

If nothing else, this illustrates why we need the right of recall, not just for Members of Parliament, but also local and county councillors, who are failing to act in the best interest of their local communities.

Those who will suffer most, are kids from poor backgrounds, who have no books in the house, where they have no safe place to study at home.

This is the council that wastes money on shipping its staff around Lincoln in taxis because they are too bone idle to walk. Their excuse is it is not safe, they have a duty of care. Would a commercial organisation waste money on taxi fares for its staff to travel across the town centre? We know the answer would be no. Not safe? Not safe from what? Are they going to be mugged, run down? Maybe they will encounter angry local taxpayers. The council is responsible for both policing and road safety. A good turn off for tourists, do not come to Lincoln, its streets are not safe.

Cost cutting does not of course extend as far as councillors, who are only too happy to get their snouts in the trough.

Lincolnshire actually has a budget underspend of £40 million.

Lincoln Yellow bellies, are not taking this lying down. They are crowd funding to raise the necessary money to file a Judicial Review. Please support their fund raising.

Meanwhile tax dodgers Starbucks, Vodafone et al are laughing all the way to their offshore tax havens.

This coming Saturday, UK Uncut plan to occupy Vodafone in protest at their tax dodging. UK Uncut put the figure at £6 billion. A recent Private Eye report puts the figure much higher, ten times as much.

Tax dodging and austerity are two sides of the same coin.

Those fighting the Lincolnshire library closures, should ensure every single Vodafone shop in the county is occupied on Saturday. And spread the word.

Save Kensal Rise Library

August 30, 2012
Save Kensal Rise Library - Paulo Coelho

Save Kensal Rise Library – Paulo Coelho

The decision is a symbol of cultural philistinism. It is sad to see this wonderful coalition of writers and artists has been unsuccessful in their campaign. — Denis MacShane MP

Only Nazis, fundamentalists and Oxfam Bookshops destroy books.

Only Philistines and the Taliban close libraries.

The UK has a budget deficit. It is not a problem, the UK can easily sustain it, in the long term, yes it should be reduced to zero. In the short term, with interest rates so low, we should actually be increasing public debt to invest in long term infrastructure projects.

The Bank of England has pumped money into the banks, which has flowed out of the banks to line the pockets of the rich.

If the budget deficit was the beginning of the end of the world, then the world would have already ended as under the ConDem Government, public deficit is growing.

The budget deficit is being used as an excuse for an ideological driven slash and burn of public services. The Nordic Countries have a higher public spend as a percentage of GDP. They enjoy a higher standard of living, better public services.

Part of the slash and burn of public services is to close Public Libraries. Those not closed are being put on reduced hours, it can then be used to justify future closures on the grounds that fewer people are using the libraries.

In Oxfordshire, around half of the county’s libraries were earmarked for closure.

Brent, a local council in London, wishes to close half of its libraries. This is strongly opposed by local people but the corrupt council refuses to even talk to local people.

In Brent, one of the libraries earmarked for closure is Kensal Rise.

Kensal Rise Library was opened by Mark Twain in 1900.

Opposition to its closure is widespread, and this includes writers Alan Bennett, Jacqueline Wilson, Philip Pullman, Zadie Smith and Paulo Coelho.

Local people blockaded Kensal Rise to stop the council stripping it of books. The council arrived with police reinforcements, not only stripped out the books, but also the 1930s murals and the plaque commemorating the opening by Mark Twain.

There is currently outside the Kensal Rise Library a pop up library.

Local people have offered to run the library to keep it open, but even that has been rejected out of hand.

Kensal Rise is currently for sale.

What we are seeing in Brent is endemic across the country, corrupt and uncountable local councils, in bed with developers. Local budgets are cut, but junkets and waste continue.

The Rotten Borough of Rushmoor has had several junkets to Frankfurt, has connived in the destruction of both Aldershot and Farnborough.

East Hams Council rubber-stamped an unwanted Costa Coffee shop in Totnes.

Lincoln City Council sold off The Lawn.

Top Story in Susan’s Speculations (Friday 31 August 2012).

A government that promised a Big Society is taking steps that will destroy a small one

February 4, 2011
Protestors protect libraries in Egypt

Protestors protect libraries in Egypt

Until I was eighteen, I lived in a village in North Wales called Llanfairfechan. My parents still do: my brother plays for the local football team, and has done since he was a kid.

Llanfairfechan’s remoteness is both its blessing and its curse. Its incredible natural beauty is captivating; its community is tightly-knit and welcoming. But facilities are sparse, and getting to Bangor – the nearest large town – can be a bind.

Like most rural places, Llanfairfechan relies on public services to act as the glue that holds the community together. Good services are not just a convenience for the village: they are its beating heart. The school, town hall, library, parks and clinics define Llanfairfechan as a community with its own identity, its own way of living, and its own local democracy. Public services enable residents to knit their socialisation into the fabric of the village: to be educated there, to have fun there, and in return, to shape the village by taking part in its politics.

Last month, Llanfairfechan became one of the 375 towns and villages in Britain to lose its local library. Residents were denied the chance to have a voice, thanks to the Council’s decision not to engage in any public consultation. Principal scrutiny committee chairman Janet Finch-Saunders told the North Wales Weekly News, ‘People are coming up with ideas of how their libraries could be saved, but they’re not going to have the chance to discuss them with officers at public meetings.’

The public’s desire for discussion is evidence of the fact that closing the library is a serious decision. It is the only place many villagers can use the internet, and it is opposite the school, meaning that extra-curricular reading is normal for children from an early age. Mostly, however, the library – like all libraries – gives Llanfairfechan’s residents a sense of purpose: a chance to explore their passions free of charge. A friend of the family is a keen and talented amateur photographer, who will lose computer access if the library closes. This is a punishing fact, not least because the library costs less than £9,000 a year to run – a tiny fraction of the Conway Council’s £200m annual budget.

Like so many towns and villages across the country, the question that hangs in the air in Llanfairfechan is ‘why?’ Why is the council taking away such a precious facility without explanation? Why have we been denied a say in our own public services? And like elsewhere in the UK, those questions are slowly morphing into action: the Save Llanfairfechan Library group is coming together, and getting stronger and more determined.

When I speak to my parents, I’m not surprised at the sense of frustration and the need for action. A government that promised a Big Society is taking steps that will destroy a small one. Llanfairfechan was already a great example of the helpful and unified communities David Cameron envisioned. Instead of celebrating that, the government is dismantling the very things that help it function.

If the government and local council were expecting to discreetly shut down Llanfairfechan Library, they were sorely mistaken. Not long ago, Nick Clegg instructed those who disagreed with him to get real; to grow up. Maybe Clegg will now learn some lessons of his own: that you can’t build a Big Society if you destroy the tools with which to do it, and you can’t take away the things that matter to people without a fight.

Posted on False Economy by Ellie Mae O’Hagan (@MissEllieMae) co-editor of New Left Project.

In Egypt they protect their libraries, in England the Philistine ConDem government closes them down!

In Oxfordshire 20 of its 43 libraries are to close.

I sometimes make use of a little village library in the small Lincolnshire village of Washingborough. I do so with difficulty as it is rarely open. I can see what is coming, like the Beeching massacre of our rural railway network, this library is rarely used, there is no public demand for it, therefore we will have no option but to close it.

Philip Pullman has given a damning indictment of the decision to close several hundred libraries across the country. We need more authors to speak out. International writers like Brazilian writer Paulo Coelho and Turkish Nobel Laureate Orhan Pamuk.

Philip Pullman has compared the action of the Philistine ConDem Government with that of the fanatical Bishop Theophilus who in the year 391 AD laid waste to the Library of Alexandria and its hundreds of thousands of books of learning and scholarship.

In North Wales it is not only the loss of their libraries. Such is the contempt the arrogant officials taking these decisions have for the public they do not even consider they need to discuss the matter with the public. There is though one small matter these jumped-up jobsworths forget. They are paid by the pubic, they are paid by the public to serve the public, that is all they exist for.

The public are not taking library closures lying down. Stony Stratford, near Milton Keynes, is the site of the first great library revolt of the 21st century. The building is under threat of closure due to council budget cuts. As a joke, a local resident suggested that people should show their support in a fitting way – by getting out their library cards and borrowing every single book on the shelves. Through word of mouth and the internet, this joke became a reality and the shelves have been politely emptied: all the books – some 16,000 in total – are now on loan. The library was stripped of every single book! [see Buckinghamshire library emptied in cuts protest]

It is not only libraries. The ConDem Government has scrapped Bookstart which gives each and every child a book with which to start life, though such has been the public outcry the Philistines may have backed down.

Historically there is not the massive Budget Deficit the ConDem Government claims. We are not at the edge of the abyss. What we are seeing is Shock Doctrine to drive through slash and burn of public services.

Under the terms of the Public Libraries and Museums Act, local authorities have a statutory duty to provide library services. Should there be an attempt to shut my local library I will not hesitate to apply for a Judicial Review. I would urge others to do the same.

Saturday 5 February 2011 is Save our Libraries Day. [see Save Our Libraries Day Is Tomorrow]

Protestors protect libraries in Egypt
Mr. Pullman’s Compass
Leave the libraries alone. You don’t understand their value
‘Public not being consulted properly over threatened Conwy libraries’
Time for a quiet rebellion over library closures
Buckinghamshire library emptied in cuts protest
Joanna Trollope backs Gloucestershire library campaign
Protest film being made over cuts to library services
Isle of Wight library protesters plan ‘mass borrow’
Wigan Labour MP condemns library cuts
Mass borrow to help save Isle of Wight library
Library closure threats spark campaigns across England
Campaign grows against cuts that would shut 375 libraries
Stand up and take action against library closures
Top writers join National Library Action Day
Library closures ‘will be threat to isolated rural communities’
Somerset backtracks on library closures
Leading authors including Kate Mosse warn about library closures
Library closures ‘will be against the law’
Supporters in Egypt Continue to Protect Library
Protests across the UK expected for Save Our Libraries Day
Library read-ins planned across the country