20,000 join fight against Lincolnshire library cuts
Leading politicians from different parties across the county have condemned plans to shut 32 libraries – after more than 20,000 people signed petitions against the move.
District council chiefs say Lincolnshire County Council must rethink proposals to pull funding from libraries.
The county authority says it is necessary to save £2 million from its overall budget.
But after the petition passed the landmark 20,000 signatures, Marion Brighton, Tory leader of North Kesteven District Council, said: “Libraries must remain open at all costs. They are vital for communities. If libraries were to close, it would spark a spike in anti-social behaviour and more.
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“I do not think Lincolnshire County Council has thought this through and I am really quite worried about it.”
Ric Metcalfe, Labour leader of City of Lincoln Council, said: “We are very concerned. We will make representations to the county about this.”
Hundreds of campaigners will march through Lincoln city centre on September 21.
A demonstration will also take place outside County Offices on Friday, September 13.
Giles McNeil, chief whip of the governing Conservatives at West Lindsey District Council, said: “The amount of time given to the consultation period is not long enough. “We are all surprised at the council’s decision to cut more money from the libraries budget.”
The Save Lincolnshire Libraries campaign is supported by actress Minnie Driver, historian Mary Beard and author William Hussey. County council leader Martin Hill even signed a petition to save Deeping Library. Nick Worth, executive member for libraries, said: “While we understand the concerns of the district councils, they more than anyone should recognise the financial situation we face.”