"Triumph" for North Yorkshire library campaign, but more protest in Lewisham

A plan to hand 24 libraries in North Yorkshire over to volunteers has been scrapped following public protests.

North Yorkshire County Council will now re-examine its proposal for the library service, and libraries previously not earmarked for cuts may see budgets slashed in an attempt to make the cuts "fairer". Author and campaigner Mike Pannett, from Easingwold, where
the local library had been one of those threatened with closure, called the development a "great triumph".

But in Labour-run Lewisham, campaigners Patricia and Peter Richardson have written to shadow culture secretary Ivan Lewis in protest after details of a council report revealed concerns that the computer recycling company recommended to take over three threatened libraries could run the risk of organisational failure in its new venture.

“The key risk is the financial failure of Eco Computer Systems as a result of it becoming overstretched—caused by the expansion of the company and the demands of running a number of new sites,” the report by Lewisham council officers observed, although it added: “The company recognise these risks and have taken steps to increase their financial and HR capacity to manage the planned increase in business.”

The Richardsons questioned whether the proposal was “in any way feasible, let alone within the terms of the 1964 Act", and asked Lewis: “How can this be justified?” A final decision on Lewisham's libraries will be made at a council meeting next week.