Closed Sefton Libraries – Why I was so angry over Labour’s ‘just close them’ approach

www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/first-look-inside-waltons-revamped-11457683

The Liverpool Echo has the story – see link above

I probably bored for England during my attempts to try to stop the straight closure of 7 of Sefton Borough’s libraries. And yes of course others did far more than I did to try to save their local libraries and the huge campaigns in Churchtown, Aintree, Crosby and Birkdale come to mind – all of which were sadly ultimately unsuccessful.

Fighting for Southport's Libraries

Fighting for Southport’s Libraries

What angered me was the lack of imagination and forward thinking in Sefton Council. The fact that under the dead hand of its Labour Leadership straight closure seemed to be the only possibility being seriously considered. Yet across the UK innovative ideas have been tried to re-purpose/reorganise community libraries to give them a viable future and I have commented on many of these ideas before.

rsz_al_collins_at_a_save_aintree_library_public_meeting_on_26th_october_12_2

And here we have another one and it’s on Sefton’s doorstep in Walton! I am not saying that all 7 of Sefton’s closing libraries could have been saved like this but I am saying that with innovation maybe they could all have had a future in differing ways.

Oh for the dead hand of local political leaders!

Library volunteers – growing nationally but rejected in Labour Sefton!”

www.thirdsector.co.uk/go/news/article/1226079/number-library-volunteers-surges-year-march-figures-show/

Those of us who have been close to the campaign to save 7 of Sefton’s libraries from closure and also trying to assist volunteer groups to take over our libraries have been hitting against a brick Labour wall and this blog site has chronicled the appalling carry on in the Borough.

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

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

But the rest of the UK is not as prejudiced against volunteers indeed it welcomes them as the link above confirms.

By the way the 2nd half of the Sefton Scrutiny meeting that was hearing appeals from 2 volunteer groups bidding to take over their closing libraries (College Road, Crosby and Aintree), which Labour-run Sefton had given the two fingered salute to, is to be on 11th February.

Library Closures in Sefton – Labour’s rank hypocrisy

Let’s return to that sad affair of Labour closing many of Sefton’s libraries. The only hope for those libraries earmarked for closure under Labour’s plan would be the local campaign groups battling away to save 5 of the 7 libraries i.e. Aintree, Ainsdale, Birkdale, College Road and Churchtown.

Now, only weeks ago at Sefton Council’s budget meeting an amendment was proposed by the Conservative Group on the Council which we Lib Dems supported. The amendment was to use £150,000, of a £1m fund (which Sefton Council had set aside to help with services that had been cut back) to support the efforts of the library campaign groups across the Borough – all the Labour members voted against this sensible idea.

rsz_1college_rd

At last night’s Sefton Central Area Committee what do you think Labour councillors had the brass neck to suggest? Yes, you have guessed it, the beggars suggested using money from the very fund they had opposed using money from to support the College Road Library campaign Group.

Rank hypocrisy just about sums Labour up!