News

"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.
 

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North Yorkshire Libraries - great news. A mighty leap in the right direction. The rest of the country should be treated the same.
Libraries deal in words and words are a vital structure in our lives.

To read this account, Lewisham's plight sounds fairly simple -- but it ain't. Residents there are victims of the Mother of all double-whammies : (i) a Labour council (and mayor) that relishes thumbing its nose to residents and (ii) a Tory minister and secretary of state at DCMS who have apparently tricked people into believing in their good faith, only to stonewall them subsequently. If Lewisham continues to be treated in this manner, the public cannot be faulted for concluding that democracy in this country is dead in all but name.

Shirley, you don't live in Lewisham. The body who look like they'll take some of the libraries over have done alright in Deptford, let's see how they manage before we allow outsiders with agendas to tell us what we should be thinking.

Dear Mr/Ms Anonymous
Lewisham is part of our country. Its library service is part of the national library service. There is much interest in what is taking place there. Without knowing who or what you are, how can one be tell whether you have an agenda, or what it is. 'Passport to Pimlico' comes to mind when you suggest that outsiders' comments are unwelcome! Anyway, notwithstanding, I send you kind regards and hope that residents of Lewisham, like yourself, will get some justice.

I am an outsider who lives nowhere near Lewisham. The takeover of three libraries by Eco Computer Systems has national implications though which is why it is OK for Shirley to comment.

The handover of council buildings to a small charity is being used to blur the loss of an important public service. This is leaving aside the council's own worry about the survival of the small company in more then tripling its services overnight. It is also leaving aside the merits or otherwise of Eco Computer Systems themselves.

Where councils, both Labour and Conservative, no longer recognise the need for public libraries to be run by councils but rather as a simple service that anyone can manage then libraries are in deep deep trouble. It is a very worrying precedent for all libraries in the country.

Why do public libraries have to be run by councils? Can't the council get someone else to do it on their behalf?

North Yorkshire Libraries - great news. A mighty leap in the right direction. The rest of the country should be treated the same.
Libraries deal in words and words are a vital structure in our lives.

To read this account, Lewisham's plight sounds fairly simple -- but it ain't. Residents there are victims of the Mother of all double-whammies : (i) a Labour council (and mayor) that relishes thumbing its nose to residents and (ii) a Tory minister and secretary of state at DCMS who have apparently tricked people into believing in their good faith, only to stonewall them subsequently. If Lewisham continues to be treated in this manner, the public cannot be faulted for concluding that democracy in this country is dead in all but name.

Shirley, you don't live in Lewisham. The body who look like they'll take some of the libraries over have done alright in Deptford, let's see how they manage before we allow outsiders with agendas to tell us what we should be thinking.

Dear Mr/Ms Anonymous
Lewisham is part of our country. Its library service is part of the national library service. There is much interest in what is taking place there. Without knowing who or what you are, how can one be tell whether you have an agenda, or what it is. 'Passport to Pimlico' comes to mind when you suggest that outsiders' comments are unwelcome! Anyway, notwithstanding, I send you kind regards and hope that residents of Lewisham, like yourself, will get some justice.

I am an outsider who lives nowhere near Lewisham. The takeover of three libraries by Eco Computer Systems has national implications though which is why it is OK for Shirley to comment.

The handover of council buildings to a small charity is being used to blur the loss of an important public service. This is leaving aside the council's own worry about the survival of the small company in more then tripling its services overnight. It is also leaving aside the merits or otherwise of Eco Computer Systems themselves.

Where councils, both Labour and Conservative, no longer recognise the need for public libraries to be run by councils but rather as a simple service that anyone can manage then libraries are in deep deep trouble. It is a very worrying precedent for all libraries in the country.

Why do public libraries have to be run by councils? Can't the council get someone else to do it on their behalf?