What you can do

Reminder! We need your Save Somerset Libraries Petitions by 9th February 2011!

UPDATE – as of 3rd Feb, over 19,500 signatures have been collected! Please keep them coming, whilst some libraries have had a reprieve, the council is still planning to cut the funding and close some of our libraries!

Saturday 22nd January – Join a ‘Read-In’ at your local library!

You can do all sorts of things to get your voice heard and take part in the council’s consultation on the future of the library service. If enough people show their support for our libraries, we can make a real difference. Here are a few suggestions for how you can do that:

1. Take part in the council’s consultation
Somerset County Council are consulting with the public about their proposed cuts. This is your opportunity to make your voice heard and directly influence their decision.

There is an online questionnaire here, and there are six consultation events planned for January 2011:

  • Burnham – 4 January
  • Crewkerne – 5 January
  • Glastonbury – 7 January
  • Castle Cary – 8 January
  • Williton – 10 January
  • Wellington – 11 January

You can find full details of the events on the council’s web site.

2. Sign the online petition

There is an online petition. Sign up and show your support today. The more people we get the better.

Some signatures collected so far and counting…

Sign the petition

You can also print off paper copies ot the petition for those who do not have internet access. SaveSL Petition PDF copy.

3. Tell the Council what you think
Why not tell the council what you think of their plans? Somerset County Council provides all sorts of ways to get in touch with them, so it makes sense to take advantage of that and let them know what you think.

If you prefer the direct route, why not get in touch with the key people directly and let them know how you feel:

Ken MaddockKen Maddock
Go straight to the top! Ken is the leader of Somerset County Council.

Email Ken at: kmaddock@somerset.gov.uk

Write to him at: 4  Church Lane, Baltonsborough, BA6 8RP

Even better, give him a ring on 01458 850906 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              01458 850906      end_of_the_skype_highlighting.

Christine LawrenceChristine Lawrence
Christine is the cabinet member with specific responsibility for Libraries.

Email Christine at: cmlawrence@somerset.gov.uk

Write to her: 33 Quay Street, Minehead, TA24 5UL

Or give Christine a call on 01643 707889.

If you would like to write to councillors about a specific library, we have a list of Councillors by library.

4. Use your local library!

Of course the best way to show your support for Somerset’s library service is to use your local library. Libraries in Somerset are dotted around the county, free to join, and you get access to millions of books, DVDs, CDs and computer games. Find out more about Somerset’s libraries here.

5. Spread the word!

  • Tell all your friends, family, work colleagues what is happening.
  • Print off copies of our information leaflet and pass them round  SaveSL flyer print version A4.
  • Contact us to show your support or offer assistance.

8 Responses to What you can do

  1. The County Council’s online consultation is a sham. It appears to be a thinly disguised trawl for ‘community groups’, and potential volunteers to run libraries.

    The so-called Communities councillor Christine Laurence is a farce, imo. She said library use is declining. Um, well, what do you think happens when you slash the book budget.., and cut opening hours. It’s like Marks and Spencers saying…. “Bit of a sticky patch at the moment…. I know, what we’ll do is close on Saturdays, and cut the opening hours… that’s bound to attract people in….. “.

    And as for Ken Maddock, this is the bloke who has been going around almost braying about the cuts the County Council is going to make.

  2. Alex Lawrie says:

    As someone who works for the co-operative development service for Somerset, we may well be asked to advise community groups thinking of taking over a library. We’ll do our best, but there is no question about it: it will be tough. A library is simply not a trading business and has virtually no income stream – how will it cover its costs? Even if volunteers are available – and there is no guarantee that they will be – the other running costs will be much more than the likely revenue. Libraries as we understand them are not social enterprises, they are public services. They were never intended to operate without public funding, and it is hard to see how they can without changing out of all recognition. We can only hope that they can be kept on life support until we can vote in people who will reverse these insane cuts.

  3. David Reakes says:

    What about marches? Demo’s? Being LOUD and getting on the telly?
    I’m not talking anything antisocial here, and heaven knows I have no desire to be kettled, but is anyone planning anything like this?

    • thedodz says:

      The last march and demonstration was due to take place on 18th December, unfortunately that had to be cancelled due to the snow and ice. There will be a demonstration at the next full county council meeting which is on the 16th February. We’ve made it onto radio 4 a couple of times in the past couple of months and also regional telly, but of course more media coverage would be good!!

  4. David Henry Parkin says:

    Library closures. Cuts in many other council services. Councillors braying like donkeys about the “absolute necessity” of slashing budgets in the light of government reductions in spending power. Bankers’ bonuses running at the same level or more as last year. SPOT THE CONNECTIONS. We’re suffering from POLITICAL decisions to deprive ordinary people so that the really wealthy and the corporate sector can continue with business as usual. None of these cuts are an absolute necessity. They spring from a mixture of incompetent financial management and political bias. We pay councils, amongst other things, for statutory services. Will we get a reduction in our council tax if they don’t provide them? PIGS MIGHT FLY!

    • thedodz says:

      “Will we get a reduction in our council tax if they don’t provide them?” Interestingly a member of the public suggested just that to Cllr Huxtable at a save our libraries meeting on Friday, the councillor thought this very funny indeed, it was also the only point in the meeting that he laughed. This is very valid point, there is talk of parishes putting up their precepts to cover the costs of libraries, whilst the county council adds their charges for ‘cultural services – including libraries’ to our council tax bills as well, so we would be paying twice for the library service.

  5. Digger says:

    What about an overnight occupation of the central library with people from all the threatened communities taking part.

    And a “People’s march for libraries” with every community marching across the county to converge on Taunton on the day of the council decision.

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