I want to say a huge thank you to everyone who turned out on Saturday for the march to Save Leiston Library. Thanks to your enthusiasm and energy the campaign has received unprecedented media coverage on TV, radio and the local press. Suffolk County Council can be left in no doubt about the strength of opposition in Leiston to their outrageous plans to ‘divest’ the library service. These ill-conceived proposals threaten the future of libraries and the essential services they help to deliver across the whole of Suffolk.
James Hargrave, who spoke at the march, has posted some video footage of the event on his blog. You can view it here. The excellent coverage in the East Anglian Daily Times included a gallery of photos which you can see here.
As our campaign develops we will continue to oppose SCC’s divestment agenda for the library service. It remains our position that Suffolk’s library service should remain one which is delivered by the County Council with professional library staff at its heart, and which should remain completely accountable to the people of Suffolk. The campaign has to be fought on a number of fronts. We will:
- challenge the legitimacy of what we believe to be a fundamentally flawed consultation process;
- question the legality of the divestment proposals which could contravene Suffolk County Council’s statutory duty to provide a comprehensive and efficient library service for all who wish to use it;
- establish working links with other communities and explore ways in which, by working together, we can secure the long-term future of the library service, not just locally but across Suffolk.
Finally, I want to reiterate my intention to create a community-led group which can work towards our goal of ensuring that Leiston retains a viable library service. I see this as a vital next step to ensuring that the campaign in Leiston is seen as a legitimate representative of the views of the local community. Please contact the campaign if you want to be involved.