In the Press, News

Libraries – Speech to Lincolnshire County Council

DickensCharles Dickens would have dropped everything to have been here today to defend Libraries.Just as he dropped everything over 150 years ago when the Mayor of Manchester invited him to the opening ceremony of the first free Library. In his acceptance note he said “The occasion is far too important and the example too noble to admit hesitation’.

And here I am today in 2015 with Dickens Spirit in my heart to defend a noble cause – that is about giving opportunity for everyone to have access to books, education & knowledge. Libraries are a vital part of our communities.

And Birchwood Library is an excellent example of how a library is important to the community. One of the most used Libraries in Lincolnshire ; providing a service to a catchment area of nearly 15,000 people. Providing not only access to books, but the internet, community activities ; a place where all generations can go in a safe environment staffed by dedicated professionals. The report refers to child poverty, as an important consideration,Birchwood has a high child poverty rate, it is 32% . Access to a Library is an imperative in a deprived area such as Birchwood. Many families will not be able to afford the cost of travelling to Lincoln Central Library, thus depriving children of access to free information.

I am very concerned about what the Council has suggested as the recommendation and the sustainability of this model. Birchwood people deserve the best Library service. I find it’s an insult that the County Council have ignored the voices of the people of Birchwood & Lincolnshire and have gone back to their original decision. . Perhaps the Council should take it’s own advice and instead of ‘doing to’ you should be ‘doing with’ which means actually listening to the people of Lincolnshire.

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