Green Councillors are using National Libraries Day on Saturday 6th February to highlight what it claims are “highly damaging” proposals by the Labour council to cut library services in the city.
As part of its 4 year financial strategy, the Labour administration has proposed a raft of changes to libraries which will see the sale of Hove library, closure of community libraries in Hollingdean and Westdene, and a significant reduction in hours when libraries will be staffed.
Green Councillors have expressed deep concerns about the proposals and have been active in a campaign to save Hove Library. Now, Greens are calling for cuts to library staffing to be reconsidered amid fears that they will have a massive impact on adults who rely on the city’s dedicated and supportive librarians to access library services.
As part of the campaign, Greens put a question to Labour last week as to how a Council consultation on libraries currently running can inform budget decisions in February, when responses will not have been collated until March. In a response, Labour council leader Warren Morgan said the consultation “will have to adapt” to any budget decisions taken in February.
Convenor of the Green Group, Phelim Mac Cafferty, said:
“Today is National Libraries Day, and as we celebrate the importance of libraries for all our residents as a place of learning, culture and practical support, we are also painfully aware that the city’s libraries face an uncertain future.
“The Labour Council are currently undertaking a consultation with city residents as to the future of our libraries. However, when questioned at a recent Council meeting, Councillor Morgan has admitted that results from this exercise will not be considered until after a decision has been taken on whether to cut £375,000 from library budgets by dismissing many of its librarians, and that the consultation will simply “have to adapt” to the decisions made.
“This is yet another example of Labour not listening. What is the point of consulting if residents cannot influence the decision. Labour have already made up their minds and residents are being told they simply have to lump it.”