Packham defends Southampton Library

Packham defends Southampton Library

 

TV presenter Chris Packham has spoken out in defence of library opening hours, calling proposed cuts "draconian" and "ruinous".

The BBC wildlife expert who presents Springwatch, defended Cobbett Road Library in Southampton, which is facing a proposed cut in its opening hours from 29.5 hours a week to 14.5 hours, a cut of more that half.

Packham said: "In an age when the need for good education and strong community spirit is truly needed, this insensitive, short-sighted and short-termist lunacy should be exposed for what it is - a very serious and damaging mistake.

"I read, revised, plotted and schemed; I dreamed and devised a life in those semi-silent rooms - and now libraries are so, so much more: Cobbett Road Library is many things to many people of all ages and all walks of life, and such draconian cuts and closures will be ruinous in so many ways."

He added: "This place has become a real focus for a rich community of children and adults alike. We need all our libraries to be strengthened, to be better resourced and better funded, we need them open longer hours - not fewer. These proposals betray a serious shortcoming in the reasoning and priorities of those who we have elected to act in our best interests. It is a betrayal of trust and an insult to sensibility."

Southampton City Council is currently running a consultation on its library plans, which include reducing opening hours at eight libraries, merging two mobile libraries, and reducing their book spending by £50,000.

The consultation, which is running online, is open until 11th February.