Library campaigners to march through Lincoln to oppose cuts

News from the Boston Standard, Lincolnshire: bostonstandard.co.uk, on Twitter @standardboston
News from the Boston Standard, Lincolnshire: bostonstandard.co.uk, on Twitter @standardboston

Campaigners will march through Lincoln tomorrow to show their opposition to plans to axe library services in the county.

The plans could see libraries at Kirton, Donington and Coningsby shut along with 27 others across the county.

The Big Library March will go through the centre of Lincoln, starting from Castle Square at 12noon and follows a petition against the cuts, which attracted more than 20,000 signatures.

Campaigners hope the march will see hundreds of people from across the county represent their local branches under threat.

Campaigner Leah Warriner-Wood said: “In particular we are asking for families to bring their children dressed as book characters and also blow bubbles through the march, not just for fun but to also represent the 32,500 children in Lincolnshire who will be without a statutory library nearby if the cuts go ahead.

“Libraries are vital to many people, but children we feel will be especially hard-hit by the proposed devastation of the county’s library service.”

The council says the changes – which would cut 170 posts – are needed to save almost £2million.

It argues that new technologies mean a reduced need for library buildings but campaigners in Kirton and Donington say their services are a vital community hub.

In Kirton the number of new borrowers even rose from 155 in 2006 to 267in 2001. In Donington the borrower numbers went up from 131 to 154 in the same period.

The council says the at risk static libraries would replaced by a reduced mobile service or handed to volunteers or outside bodies to run.

The Save Lincolnshire Libraries was given a boost ahead of the march when TV presenter, broadcaster and author Melvyn Bragg has given his support.

In a statement he said: “I want to associate myself with those who are strongly opposed to the closing of 30 libraries and the removal of hundreds of mobile library stops in Lincolnshire.

“I came to Lincoln sometime ago to open a new extended Central Library and was completely exhilarated by what I saw and learned on that day. This I thought was Local Government and enlightenment at its finest.

“The public library system in this country is one of the finest achievements that we have, alongside the BBC and the British Museum. To close libraries is to close minds, especially young minds, and I do hope that the opposition to these plans will persuade the county council to think again and reverse what could be an act of irreparable damage to the future of learning and the enrichment of minds.”

The campaign has attracted high profile support from figures such as Michael Morpurgo and Michael Rosen.