Library campaigners receive letter from Prime Minister’s office

Julie Harrison (right) leaving No 10 Downing Street.
Julie Harrison (right) leaving No 10 Downing Street.

Campaigners who visited Downing Street as part of their fight against cuts to Lincolnshire’s library service have received a response from the Prime Minister’s office.

Earlier this month, members of the Save Lincolnshire Libraries campaign presented a book of more than 900 comments collected as part of its petition against the cuts and a letter to Number 10 after travelling en masse to the capital}.

The letter from the Prime Minister's office.

The letter from the Prime Minister's office.

Campaigner Julie Harrison, a former head teacher, has now received a letter from the Prime Minister’s office.

It reads: “I am writing on behalf of the Prime Minister to thank you for your recent letter and petition.

“Mr Cameron is most grateful for the time and trouble you have taken to get in touch.

“I have been asked to forward your letter and petition to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport so that they too are aware of your views.

“Thank you once again for writing.”

Mrs Harrison said: “While I welcome the interest of the Prime Minister it is now time for action.

“It was a privilege to represent the campaign at Downing Street. The letter and beautiful book of 900 overwhelming comments about Lincolnshire libraries made a considerable impact across the whole day. Likewise receiving a letter from the Prime Minister’s office so quickly has been very reassuring.

“It is pleasing to know that he has taken notice of our campaign and the issues have been passed forward, alongside our submission to the new Secretary of State for Culture Media and Sport. However although we have cross-party support for the campaign we must not be complacent. We need the ongoing support of the general public if we are to keep Lincolnshire’s much needed libraries as a professionally run service.”

Lincolnshire County Council is looking to cut £2 million from its library services.

It would mean the closure of a number libraries, including those at Ruskington, Metheringham, Donington, Coningsby and Kirton, unless volunteers can be found to run them.

Mrs Harrison said: “Lincolnshire County Council needs to start listening to the people of Lincolnshire, backed up by local Conservative MPs, to look again at its plan - which it is going to implement in just two weeks’ time - to slash library opening times, to get rid of 170 jobs, and to take the Mobile Library Service away from over a hundred villages and hamlets.

“It is not too late for a change of mind – and if Lincolnshire County Council won’t change its mind the Secretary of State should use the powers he has under the public libraries act to intervene to ensure that Lincolnshire maintains a comprehensive public library service.”

Following the delegation’s visit to London, Coun Nick Worth, executive member for libraries at the county council, said: “Despite the continuing decline in usage, we know there are still people who are passionate about libraries. However, with less money to spend, changes will need to be made.

“But thanks to the support of local communities, it now looks like that we’ll end up with more library provision than we have now, empowered communities and substantial savings – it would be a real shame to miss out on all this.”