Libraries – Their future being planned rather than simply axed as in Sefton?

Lib Dem campaigners fighting Labour's library axe in 2013

Lib Dem campaigners fighting Labour’s library axe in 2013

www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/former-hillsborough-independent-panel-civil-9935953

The Liverpool Echo has the story – see link above

Well this is a seemingly welcome initiative in Liverpool and it shines Sefton’s Labour rulers in a very poor light indeed as they simply shut libraries in the Borough despite calls for innovative volunteer alternatives to be taken on board.

rsz_protesting_about_library_closures_-_southport

To this day I can’t get my head around the stubborn refusal of Sefton’s Labour-run Council who just would not embrace and encourage volunteer-run alternatives to library closures.

Sefton under Labour – Why can Libraries not be run by volunteers?

www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/five-liverpool-libraries-handed-over-9765609

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The story of Liverpool City Council handing some of its libraries over to volunteers is on the Liverpool Echo web site – see link above.

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Every time I see a Council handing over its libraries to volunteers to run I say why were Sefton Labour so determined not to allow volunteers to run its closing libraries? It is clearly not a Labour Party thing to keep volunteers at arms length nationally so why in Labour run Sefton?

Aintree Village – Another bid to use Aintree Library for the community gets the brush off from Labour-run Sefton

www.champnews.com/newsstory.aspx?story=3067550&word=&userid=

rsz_al_collins_at_a_save_aintree_library_public_meeting_on_26th_october_12_2

The Aintree & Maghull Champion has the story – See link above

How sad but I can’t say I am surprised by Sefton Labour’s latest kick in the teeth for Aintree – at least they are consistent though! But what does surprise me is that the area’s Labour MP is surprised!

Frankly, having seen the previous bid to run Aintree Library using volunteers being given the short shrift by Sefton and then the MP’s objections to his own councillors plan to build on acres of Green Belt being ignored you would have thought that Bill Esterson should have almost been expecting another rejection.

This Labour MP says one thing but his Labour councillors on Sefton say just about the opposite is becoming an unfortunate farce.

PS. I sent this piece to the Aintree & Maghull Champion newspaper but it was not used.

Libraries – Just look at this innovative project in Wigan

book-cycle.org/wigan

Ever since Sefton Council ran into its library funding problem and then seemed to lack the will and imagination to reinvent community libraries around the power of volunteers I have been looking at other places where volunteer library projects were given an opportunity to flourish.

Sefton’s Labour Council simply turned its nose up at volunteer bids to run Aintree and College Road Libraries if you recall (see many previous postings on this blog site). Instead of encouraging them they were made to jump through so many hoops only then to be told they had failed the test and to sling their hooks.

Aintree Library - Now up for sale by the same Council that shut it!

Aintree Library – Now up for sale by the same Council that shut it!

Well, as I have said before such negative thinking is not replicated elsewhere. Indeed, in Wigan a Labour run Council there has worked with volunteers and just look at this result:-

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If it can work in Wigan why were Labour so determined that volunteer library ventures would not be given a chance to succeed in Sefton?

Sefton Libraries – With elections coming up its time for Labour-run Sefton to say why they stopped volunteers from running closing libraries

www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-lincolnshire-31208967

The article above on the BBC web site shows yet again why volunteers in Sefton should have been given the chance to run the libraries that our Labour-run council had decided to close. In the case above – accessible via the link – it is a Tory run Council but interestingly Labour’s Shadow Culture Minister Chris Bryant is not condemning them for putting the libraries under the control of volunteers. So opposing volunteers running libraries is clearly not a national Labour policy.

Lib Dems fighting for Sefton's Libraries

Lib Dems fighting for Sefton’s Libraries

All we really know about Sefton Labour’s anti-volunteer vote is that they said they did not want volunteers to run the libraries. They have never made a coherent argument for adopting this stance but they did hide behind a Sefton Council-made process via which the volunteers allegedly did not pass go so to speak.

There were two very credible bids from volunteer groups to run Aintree and College Road (Crosby) Libraries; both were told to sling their hooks.

Come on Labour let’s hear from you saying clearly why you opposed giving volunteers a chance. Do you just oppose library volunteers or is your policy one of opposing volunteers helping to run council services generally? If its just that you have a problem with library volunteers why is that?

Liverpool saves its libraries, so why did Sefton close its libraries?

www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-merseyside-29985668

The BBC has the story – see link above

Having worked with campaigners across the Borough of Sefton who were trying to stop the closure of many branch libraries I am left scratching my head. Why can Labour-run Liverpool City Council save its libraries from closure whilst in neighbouring Sefton Borough not only did the Labour-run Council close more than half of its libraries but it also stopped volunteers from running closed libraries too.

Sadly this placard could also read 'NO' to volunteers taking over Aintree Library!

Sadly this placard could also read ‘NO’ to volunteers taking over Aintree Library!

I realise that Liverpool Labour Mayor Joe Anderson was put under a great deal of pressure in Liverpool, not least by Liverpool Lib Dems and Liverpool residents, to back-off from his closure plans but that sort of pressure was also put on Sefton Council’s Labour rulers.

We all know that Council’s are short of money these days but if you can keep a strong and vibrant library network in Liverpool you can surely keep one in next door Sefton.

And for joyful reactions to the saving of Liverpool’s libraries see this link to the Liverpool Echo site:-

www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/pictures-liverpool-users-react-news-8086020