Protests begin over library cuts in Nottinghamshire

Protests begin over library cuts in Nottinghamshire

<p>One hundred writers, academics, publishers and booksellers, including Jane Streeter, president of the Booksellers Association, have put their names to a letter of protest to Nottinghamshire County Council over its planned reductions in library staffing, opening hours and a 75% cut in its book fund.</p><p>The letter was drawn up by Ross Bradshaw, of Five Leaves Publications, whose own career started in libraries and who was for ten years the County Council&#39;s Literature Development Officer. He said 100 writers and publishers responded within 48 hours: &quot;All the local writers I have talked to have been shocked at these proposed cutbacks. Councillor John Cottee, Cabinet Member for Culture, said that &#39;We [the County Council] are committed to libraries being at the heart of the community&#39;. If so, this is a heart attack.&quot; </p><p>The letter will be sent to Nottinghamshire County Council on Monday 25th&nbsp; October. &quot;This will have a major impact on the whole community, from business support to levels of literacy. The Cabinet Member for Culture and Community at Nottinghamshire County, John Cottee, says that &#39;we are committed to libraries being at the heart of the community&#39;. Maybe, but the Council&#39;s action shows a different view. These cuts will drive down library usage and will deter visitors and investment as Nottinghamshire will be seen as somewhere with little concern for reading and culture. We urge a rethink.&quot;</p><p>Signatories include the novelist Julie Myerson who said: &quot;The library was a lifeline to me growing up in Nottinghamshire. As a young teenager, I got through about 6 novels every couple of weeks. I still remember the authors I discovered. At 16 &amp; 17 I&#39;d go there on Saturdays to flick through the Writers &amp; Artists Yearbook and dream of being published!&quot;<br /><br />Nottinghamshire County Council said last week that it planned to cut its books budget by 75%, reduce opening hours, and reduce the frequency of mobile library visits. Councillor Cottee, who is responsible for Nottinghamshire&#39;s 61 libraries, told the BBC, that there was little choice but to reduce staff and opening hours because of the deficit crisis. </p>