Tag Archives: local elections

2015 General Election Manifesto – Speak Up For Libraries

The Speak up for Libraries alliance (which includes Voices for the Library) has updated its election manifesto in time for the 2015 General Election. It is urging people everywhere to make public libraries a central issue in the General Election and local elections.

Already, many library services are threatened by, or already experiencing, deep cuts, widespread closures of vital local branches – or the damaging policy of turning them over to volunteers to run.

This is a once-in-five-years chance to make sure central government understands that libraries are a low-cost, essential resource for the work of local councils, and for national agendas such as ‘Digital by Default’ – and deeply valued by local residents and the nation as a whole.

Speak up for Libraries believes that libraries, far from being obsolete, are more important than ever. That is why we are asking the government to make a public commitment to their survival and development.

Speak up for Libraries is asking MPs to sign up to the following manifesto when standing for election:

  • Give libraries a long-term future, with a vision for their future development and clear standards of service.

  • Enforce the commitment in law for local authorities to provide a ‘comprehensive and efficient’ library service. This commitment should also include digital, ICT and e-book services.

  • Acknowledge that libraries are important to individuals and communities – especially in times of hardship.

  • Enforce the duty that local authorities have to properly consult with communities to design services that meet their needs and aspirations.

  • Ensure that local authorities receive sufficient funding in order to deliver properly resourced and staffed library services.

  • Recognise that properly resourced library services contribute to the health and well-being of local communities and of society as  a whole and therefore complement the work of other public services and of national government agendas.

SUFL colour banner PNG

 

Full details of the election manifesto, including downloadable copies, can be found on the Speak Up For Libraries site.

Lambeth campaigners adopt the Manifesto for Libraries

We were very pleased to hear that Lambeth library supporters recently adopted the Voices for the Library public libraries manifesto formulated in consultation with library supporters.

 

Alongside the manifesto they are encouraging Lambeth residents to ask their local politicians to support the manifesto and pledge that they agree to the following when standing for election in May 2014:

 

• A commitment to increase book stock to at least the average amount of books of other London authorities – Lambeth Libraries have only 50% of the average London borough book stock

• A commitment to increase staffing to at least the average amount of staff of other London authorities – Lambeth Libraries are proposing to reduce the staffing levels to the lowest in London

• A commitment to increase public IT access to at least the average amount of other London authorities – Lambeth Libraries have only 50% of the average London borough public IT provision

• A commitment to keep all nine public libraries open with no cuts to opening hours

 

For more information contact: Lambeth Manifesto for Libraries c/o Lambeth UNISON 6a Acre Lane SW2 5SG, lambethsaveourservices@gmail.com

Time to vote for libraries

Vote for libraries on May 3rd (image c/o Alan Cleaver on Flickr).

Thursday May 3rd sees local elections once more taking place across the UK.  Once more, this is a chance to hold to account those politicians who have been behind moves to close libraries or forcing communities into running them themselves.  This is a chance to send a strong message to politicians who have not listened to library users and hold them to account for their refusal to engage or listen to the concerns of library users.

Take, for example, Bolton Council leader Cllr Cliff Morris.  As a result of his leadership, five libraries were closed across the town, including Oxford Grove library in his own ward of Halliwell.  Secretary of the local Save Bolton Libraries campaign, Ian McHugh, will be standing against Cllr Morris representing the Green Party.  We wish Ian the best of luck in his efforts.

In Doncaster, a referendum will be held to decide whether Doncaster will be run by a mayor or by a leader of the council.  This is an opportunity for the people of Doncaster to reject their mayor, who has wreaked havoc across the borough and seriously undermined the principles of democratic accountability.  In the past couple of months, Mayor Davies has defended his decision to veto £380,000 worth of investment in libraries and has overruled a majority council decision to reopen libraries at Denaby and Carcroft.  We very much hope that the people of Doncaster reject their existing system and choose one that is more democratic, backing the clear will of the people of Doncaster to provide a properly funded library service.

Campaigners in London also have an opportunity to remove those that have been hostile to public library provision.  Voters in Barnet and Camden, for example, have an opportunity to reject Brian Coleman as their representative in the London Assembly.  Coleman has been a key inspiration behind attempts to close libraries within the borough, despite being a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.  In Croydon and Sutton, library users will be alarmed to know that candidate Steve O’Connell recently claimed that he “does not care who runs public libraries…All that matters is that they are kept open.”  So replacing paid staff with volunteers seems to be very much on the table as far as O’Connell is concerned.  Furthermore, campaigners in Brent will be looking very carefully at the record of their current representative Navin Shah, who has done little to support campaigners in the fight against their local authority, supporting Brent’s claims that the authority was in an “impossible” position and had no choice.

Come May 3rd those concerned about library closures have a clear choice.  Now is the time to vote for libraries and make sure your local authorities get the message loud and clear: Save Our Libraries.