Library inquiry opens as Brent campaigners threaten to sue Vaizey

Library inquiry opens as Brent campaigners threaten to sue Vaizey

Public policy consultant Sue Charteris has told the media, culture and sport parliamentary select committee into library closures that Hillingdon libraries have been "a fantastic success" and that the triborough library project run in London is "a model" for the service to follow. 

The committee opened its inquiry this morning, with contributions also from Miranda McKearney of The Reading Agency, Andrew Coburn of The Library Campaign and Abigail Barker of Voices for the Library.

Charteris, author of the Charteris report into library closures in the Wirral, warned that local authorities need "a great deal more encouragement and incentivisation from the Secretary of State, the Arts Council and the Local Government Group", to move quickly on borough co-operation.

She also said: "You can't take 20-30% our of the library service and expect it to stay the same, but the more you do it in partnership with your local community, the most you will get robust decision-making and consensus."

But Barker warned that local authorities were not consulting their communities about changes."They aren't consulting the needs of local people. They are saying: 'These are the decisions, if you don't become volunteers, you'll lose libraries,' she said, saying that claims to be making changes to meet the needs of local people was "a lie".

Meanwhile in a new development lawyers acting for campaigners in Brent, who on Friday (3rd February) were denied permission to appeal in the Supreme Court in their legal bid to overturn library closures, have threatened to sue culture minister Ed Vaizey, according to a report in the London Evening Standard.

Lawyers acting for the campaigners have issued a Letter Before Claim to Vaizey in connection with his failure to act over the closures.

Meanwhile a DCMS spokesperson has told the Harrow Observer that a decision on intervening over the Brent closures will be made "soon."