Friday, 6 January 2012

Council's library proposals - special meeting

Update: This meeting is confirmed now and you should be able to find the agenda material on the committees section of the Council website.

There's likely to be a "select committee" to look at what the Council wants to do re libraries in Liverpool.  This follows the Cabinet meeting this morning which agreed the plans (including potential closure of Woolton and other libraries and changes to opening hours)

The Liberal Democrats have "called in" the plans.  A "call in" is basically a device which asks the administration to think again.  It means there has to be a meeting so that a different group of Councillors can look at the plans and make points.  The meeting can then agree with what the Cabinet wants to do or suggest changes.  At the end of the day though the decision is with the Cabinet so the Cabinet can just say, "we are sticking with what we said".

The Liberal Democrats have called this in for a number of reasons.  We are worried about the closure plans. Frankly we don't think that there is evidence of real attempts to save the threatened libraries and some of the data about useage demonstrates that these are used more than some that are being kept.

We are also worried about opening hours.  The suggestion at most libraries involves changing opening hours.  We understand that this may be needed.  However what's proposed means that if you have a job you are being squeezed into having to go along on a Saturday.  What's wrong with some opening times that take in evenings?  People with jobs are not all rich and may depend on libraries for books, reading space and internet access.

There was a consultation on the future of libraries a while ago.  I took part and made several points about Garston and Allerton libraries, which I know well.  As part of this process, Woolton campaigners collected an impressive petition.  For some reason this was reported to the Cabinet as a petition about one of the threatened libraries and Woolton wasn't even mentioned! So much for transparency.

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