‘Save Our Libraries’ Is Call From Users and Staff

A roundup of our live coverage of the meeting

Last night’s meeting to discuss the future of the Isle of Wight Library Service attracted over 200 concerned staff and users of the service to Quay Arts in Newport.

Visit SaveTheLibraries.OnTheWight.Com to protect your library.

Meeting at Quay ArtsHosted by Unison, the two hour meeting saw a cross-section of users, young and old express their concern at the decimation of libraries across the Island under the council’s plans to close nine of the eleven libraries by the end of March.

Live Coverage From Save our Libraries Meeting
We were tweeting and Facebooking live from the meeting, so for those who didn’t follow those streams of information we’ve compiled a roundup below.

  • Loads of people at the Save the Libraries meeting at the Quay
  • Possible one day strike being floated – to show strength of feeling at loss of library service
  • Shouts of “Shame” when it’s pointed out that Cabinet member responsible for library closures, George Brown, isn’t here
  • Closure of the libraries could lead to 40-50 more jobs loses on the Island
  • Vanessa Churchman, “I’d always considered that libraries are part of the core services of the council.” Massive applause
  • Vanessa Churchman, “Closing the libraries is like Hitler burning the books before the war.”
  • Mike Taplin (Shanklin) – Challenge on the Libraries Act 1964. The council have to provide local service by law
  • Geoff Lumley: Council Hall unwilling to work with the local MP for the best of the Isle of Wight
  • Geoff Lumley: The IWC £19m cuts – only £11m is from the gov cuts – the rest is IWC covering up their overspend over last 5 years
  • 'Save Our Libraries' Is Call From Users and Staff

  • Geoff Lumley: “We need to make sure that future generations of the Island have access to library”
  • James Levy: The people who use the libraries also use the shops, trade will be killed off
  • John Wortham: £30m reserves when Conservative came in. Only £5m left now
  • Sue Warmington: IWC seem very focused just on books – a very narrow understanding of what a library provides
  • Audience member: “Why don’t we all descend on Newport library and take out 12 books each? – Give them a preview of what it will be like”
  • Lady from Cowes: “Not long ago councillors weren’t paid – why don’t we return to that to save money?”
  • ‘The Greys’ have got a reputation for voting in large number. Come the next election, we won’t forget these cuts.”
  • Reg Barry: “I’m convinced £10m of the IWC cuts are not down to the government cuts.”
  • School pupil: “Internet filters at school at very tight, so we need to have access via the libraries to research projects.”
  • Mike Cassady: “How can we make alternative suggestions for different cuts if we don’t have access to the council figures?”
  • Man: “Haven’t heard any suggestions from people here. How about pay for book hire? We pay for DVD hire, Why not?”
  • MP getting a hard time trying to justify cuts. Lots on anger here and they’re not your usual angry brigade. Interesting shift
  • “Saying volunteers can do it, is a complete insult to librarians who are qualified.” Massive applause
  • “Perhaps we can volunteer and do the jobs of those doing the cutting, for them instead!”
  • Conservative councillors present are offered to speak up against the cuts. Not taken up
  • Mark Chiverton: “The important thing is that the leaders hear from people who don’t write to them normally”
  • Martin: Essence of a library is to share information. Can we have a commitment from IWC to have access to figures behind decisions?
  • “If we ‘save’ £600k on library cuts, how much are long term costs? Old people, school children, etc. It will undermine whole community”
  • Anti-Library cuts meeting ended. Mass update alert over :) Stirring meeting

The live stream of news also attracted a variety of comments on the VB Facebook Page.

Any views or opinions presented in the comments below must comply with the Commenting 'House Rules' and are solely those of the author and do not represent those of OnTheWight.

Leave your Reply

65 Comments on "‘Save Our Libraries’ Is Call From Users and Staff"

newest oldest most voted

I know that the 200 people at the meeting feel very passionate about their libraries but the truth is that libraries have had their day. Technology is overtaking them. The next generation will download via phones and notebooks. All research will be online and that will be mobile. Wake up, it’s already here.

Gillian Jenner
Libraries are more than a collection of books. They are about access to knowledge and information for all. For many people in Ventnor and around the Island, this includes providing the only access they have to the online world. Libraries are also a great focus for cultural and community activities for all ages – and real human contact, something the virtual world can never replicate. Shut down… Read more »

But the future, well actually the present, of online is mobile. It smacks of desperation when the internet connection at a library becomes it’s main justification. Do you remember when people thought that phone boxes were crucial? The rallying cry for the real reformers ought to be “access to technology for all” not “lets preserve the old technology for the poor and old”.

Playing the numbers
It is one thing to appear stupid – it is something else to open one’s mouth (blog something) & confirm it. Libraries exist as a bastion in the protection knowledge through the protection of books, or in reference to your ‘online’ point multi-formatted materials. By knowledge I refer to bibliotheca, religio and sapientia. This public collection of knowledge represents the apex of our civilization extending backwards thousands… Read more »
Dave Gavin
It is a shame that you think this way, libraries have a long history and there is no reason to think this should not continue, the main use of a library is to store and allow for the ease of access to published information, this is not available through any other means, the internet has the ability to provide information but the depth of the information is… Read more »
Chris Welsford
I am the Independent County Councillor for Ventnor East, home to Ventnor Library, threatened by closure as a part of the “deficit reduction austerity measures” so eagerly embraced by this Conservative county council. I attended the library meeting last night but didn’t speak because I wanted to listen to what members of the public and others had to say about the proposed cuts in the limited time… Read more »

Very well put – I agree with every word of it.

Steephill Jack
Yes Chris, you spotted it too, the Conservative government (and it’s potential member Pugh, who supports the cuts)is using the bank-generated financial crisis to do what they always wanted to do: cut public services and make people pay for private provision. It’s not a secret, that’s their policy and some people vote for it. I think they should screw the banks and not the people, but then… Read more »
steve s

Then Steepy, you must surely know, you have no say in the matter! ;-)

Even if there was no budget crisis I would argue that libraries have had their day. Books, music , film, tv, radio and internet are all just digital information that lends itself to online downloads. That’s why HMV and Waterstones are on the ropes. Books are the equivalent of vinyl and will go the same way, with some people collecting them for old times sake. Wasting tax… Read more »

Ye Gads. No wonder books are wasted on you – you can’t even spell your pseudonym (that’s a fancy word for AKA) correctly.


Customer:”A Steak and Kidley pie please”.
Shop Assistant:”Don’t you mean Steak and Kidney?”
Customer:”That’s what I said didle I?”

Customer goes into a shop and says “I’d like to do some winging.” Shop assistant “I’m afraid we don’t sell flying equipment Sir.” Customer “What are you talking about? I simply want to wing about my pie.” Shop assistant “I believe the fundamental building blocks of communication seem to have collapsed Sir” Customer “What? there must be a book that lists words in the.. em… thingy, book… Read more »
Dave Gavin

not all of us use them for toilet paper before they go back to the library, if you visit lidl you can get a big pack very cheaply

wrong…..book sales for 2009 were valued at £3,404 Million pounds up 0.2% on the previous year. Bookshops suffer becasue of online sales.. LB of Hillingdon has the same population as the IOW, had its budget cut by a bigger percentage than the IOW and has 17 Libraries. How many are they closing….none. In fact they are developing the services they provide, changing some PC’s for Macs etc..they… Read more »
Steephill Jack

Did you ever think how un-hygienic bank notes are ?
The trouble with your downloading solution for everything is that private provision will be for the mass market: there will be no provision for scholarship which I think is important.


Do we know how many County Councillors attended the meeting and who they were?

There were Cllrs from Labour, LibDems and Independent sector, all of whom pledged to vote against the Library cuts. I believe there were three Conservatives, who kept themselves well hiddeen. Only one spoke, the new guy from Niton, who said he would press for Niton library to be retained. It is important that everyone completes the response to the consultation (on-line or hard copy available in libraries),… Read more »
Geoff Lumley

They were: myself (Labour); Barry, Knowles, Richards (LibDem); Bacon, Churchman, Downer, Humby, Welsford, Whittle (independents); and Hobart, Jones-Evans and Stewart (Conservative). 13 out of 40.

Dave Gavin

Mike, what we need now is some organised library use, say the removal of books on the same day by as many people as possible, the two libraries to attack are Newport and Ryde they would then be shown to be not fit for the purpose of supplying the whole of the island.

steve s

So, is the ‘New guy from Niton’ going to break the mould and vote against his party?

Dave Gavin

four i think but not enough they all should have had the obedience as a public servent to turn up and listen to what was being said, else they should leave office as they are unfit for purpose.

Learn To Read
People who think libraries are out dated simply do not know what they do. The work they do with schools, for instance. We need to support every effort to improve our children’s reading ability, and the library initiatives do this. Free internet courses for the elderly…how is that out-dated? As for books, they said DVDs would bring the end to cinemas years ago and that hasn’t happened.… Read more »

do the funky gibbon!


Sue M
Many people can’t afford broadband, laptops, downloads etc and importantly, libraries allow you to pick up and browse books that you wouldn’t otherwise have come across. When my children were learning to read they read dozens of books each week…difficult to pay for that with on-line books, even if you are well off. School pupils also made the point at last night’s meeting that they needed the… Read more »
Jonathan Bacon
I am the Independent Councillor for Bembridge, Brading and St Helens. As Geoff Lumley has recorded above, I attended the meeting last night and spoke. I, together with the other Independents in attendance last night, the Liberal Councillors and Geoff, all pledged to vote against the proposed cuts to the library service. As has been pointed out above, this proposal is being driven by David Pugh and… Read more »

very well said. at least theres one or two councillors who appear to be in touch with reality and common sense, at least on this issue.


yes….beware the scrutiny board ;)

Geoff Lumley

Why ? Scrutiny has had no impact on the IW Council since 2007 that I can recall………..


mere jest…and a hint of a suggestion that the scrutiny board has been used to remove potential disaffection

bugger scrutiny, and bugger the tories. Geoff and Jonathan should keep on doing what theyre doing. And next time theres an opening for council leader (hopefully not too far away) I would love to see either of them stand for it. I think I would rather see Bacon get into that position actually. Having an independant at the top might lead to councillors actually voting with their… Read more »
Patrick Joyce

I am the other Independent councillor for Brading
Bembridge and St Helens who totally opposes the library cuts
Cll Bacon and I agreed he would attend this meeting while I went to Brading Town Council meeting where I made my views know


can we assume that yourself and Jonathan share very similar views? Or are there some differences between you?

docile denny
The difference is Patrick is old and Jonathan is, well what can I say. (Sorry Patrick). From what I have seen the two guys work well together for the community. I believe Patrick was a tory in the past until a certain young man came on the scene. Glad Niton managed to get Mr Pugh along to a meeting. I understand a Bembridge councillor asked him to… Read more »
Mr J

It is a shame they are the few.

If you have a local Tory councillor, I fear he or she will indeed toe the party line. They always vote like sheep.

Up late

Why Oh Why did people vote them in???

If it was the “Blue rinse brigade” lets hope they will think twice next time!

Jackie S

It’s all so predictable. Why are the people of our island largely Conservative voters? Conservatives have always looked after the wealthy and cut services.

retired hack

Fairly fractious Niton village meeting this morning, chaired by (new) Tory councillor Dave Stewart, but with “minder” Pugh present and helping him try to steer agenda beyond Feb 23. “There is no alternative, funding withdrawal inevitable, let’s see what we can do to run our own library,” etc. Stewart wouldn’t be pinned down when asked outright how he would vote. So we can draw our own conclusions…

Steephill Jack
Stewart is still undergoing the Conservative initiation/induction programme from which he will emerge as as an obedient servant of the cause. But he still has to be trained and watched until he’s safe to be let out on his own. I am impressed by the Pugh/Brown control system which seems to be very effective and I wonder what the sticks/carrots are that bring everyone into line? We… Read more »

Pathetic David Pugh “Shanklin lad”Fire Station, Library and Theatre(run now voluntary)and TIC.going.God help(sorry Dave I know you say you believe) not much hope for the rest of the Island with you in charge!Have you turned into the Grim Reaper,to further your political career at the expense of Island people?It is sad Dave if you have!


or should we call him the ‘backdown kid’…shanklin Firestation to stay, Shanklin Theatre still open…all the schools still open (except one)and ..I expect…a U turn on the Libraries.

Its what you get when you give a human a Tory mind, no heart and no spine


The Middle School sites that have to be refurbished.The money has to come from somewhere,

Media watcher

Congratulations to Dave Pugh and his diminutive Chief Exec Steve Beynon. Both made it into Private Eye magazines annual Rotten Borough’s Awards.

Dave as You-tube Councillor of the year, following the now infamous Cowes outburst. Stevie B for his quote about ‘only’ taking £150,000 a year from the hard pressed Island taxpayer, when his actual cost is nearer £200,000.

Congratulations and trebles all round as they say.


any link to the article

No One
surely not
Thanks to Media Watcher for the heads-up on Dave ‘Boy’ Pugh’s mention in the Private Eye Rotten Boroughs awards. It’s obvious from the Eye’s website that he’s up against strong competition, but let’s make 2011 the year when he sweeps one or two of the more coveted categories – ‘Denial of the Year’, perhaps, or even better the ‘Pants on Fire’ award. We just need to keep… Read more »
Surely its far more important to work out a way to save our libraries than to slag off david pugh again and again and again and yet again. So hes received some joke award from private eye, so what. We all know hes an incompetent, arrogant, two faced, bulls**ing idiot, we dont need reminding. Saving the libraries should be priority. Personal opinions of pugh are irrelevant, and… Read more »
Wight Knight

Whatever everyone thinks, the Council needs to save £32m over the next 4 years. Either the library service is cut or those few that use it must pay for it. If they can’t afford it they can’t use it. I would love a brand new car but can’t afford it so I make do. Same applies!!


But we seem to afford a Chief Exec,taking £150,000 a year!Even Pickles has said Authorities should share,Chief Execs.

steve s

Are you serious, Wight Knight?!
You really think there’s a parallel between you having a brand new car and the retention of libraries?

i could see your point if the council was talking about spending money they dont have on shiny brand new libraries, like you want to spend it on a new car. However, what the council is doing is saying that they no longer have enough money to pay the road tax, petrol, and MOT, and therefore are simply going to stop using their car, get rid of… Read more »
retired hack
Pugh-bashing for its own sake has, I agree, only a limited, theraputic, value. But the man is worth studying seriously. He’s clearly a Thatcherite, and his career path seems to me to be closely modelled on that of Eric Pickles. Pickles, leader of the Tory majority in Bradford from the late 1980s, while still in his 30s, quickly earned the nickname of the Beast of Bradford, slashing… Read more »
Steephill Jack
This is a very good assessment and I think there is touble brewing for Pugh. I can’t see the Tory party putting him up as a parliamentary candidate on the Island because he’s too well known here and not much liked. They might try him in a tough seat on the mainland first while he keeps his job here. As to being out of tune with the… Read more »
docile denny

I have been told that David Pugh does not have political ambitions to be MP for the Island, the person with that ambition is Edward Giles. David knows he won’t get in on the Island so will go elsewhere. It is Edward of the raincoat brigade you all need to watch.

Pughs problem is his ambition…when he was the leader of Tory Forward (Tory Youth) he came into contact with a lot of the new blood in the party…these have gone on to bigger and better things with jobs in Westminster and a couple of young MP’s…whereas he was booted out in ignomy. Whilst working at Berdsalls in Regents Street he watched his fellows progress and now has… Read more »
Stick to the facts
You’re missing the real point about Cameron’s interview. He says that front line services don’t need to be cut because up and down the country they don’t. The problem on the Island, and specific to the Island, is that of the £17m cuts needed next year, £8m + are nothing to do with Cameron’s government’s cuts. They relate entirely to the huge and unbelievable mountain of incompetent… Read more »

Tory incompetence in the Council.Is that why no Tory Councillor will challenge Pugh for Leader because they know what mess the Council is in,and do not want to be saddled with it?


spot on that man…….

Victor Meldrew
What people forget is that the seeds were sown way back when this lot were first elected. They promised no increase imn council tax above inflation – BUT – they were committed to a “review” of council tax banding valuation. This was their “ace up the sleeve” to pay for all their wonderful plans (crafty,eh?). Unfortunately for them, as soon as they got their backsides on the… Read more »
steephill jack

This £122M loan still intrigues me (County Press 10/12/10)for which we paid £3.1M in interest over six months (that’s 5.08% per annum).
Is this normal practice in local authorities or are we exceptionally bad ?
The CP reports “members were told that the Council had not added to its borrowing in recent years and could, if it wanted to, take out another £70M in loans.”


Spot on Victor

retired hack
Turns out that Cameron was speaking with forked tongue. “His local council”, which is indeed sharing a chief exec with a neighbour, is West Oxfordshire District Council. But libraries throughout Oxfordshire are run by the county council. And the county council intends to cease funding 20 of the county’s 43 libraries. Interestingly, in Oxfordshire there will be “a pot of money” which community groups wanting to run… Read more »
surely not
Retired hack takes us back to the question of whether it’s better to go for the cause, and focus on opposing the Tory assault on the Island’s population, or stick with the effect, and fight the closure of libraries. Of course both have to be done. The benefit of ‘slagging off’ Dave Pugh (which irritated objected to so much) is, it seems to me, that we not… Read more »

and the problem with that is that although there are loads of people who read the blog and others…there is no access into the hardcore Tory territory..short if breaking into a TV signal whilst the Good Life is on and broadcasting the message , we are simply not going to transmit the incompetence to them.

In reality we are talking to ourselves

surely not
Not to ourselves, necessarily, but to each other. I’ve learned things here. But No. 5 is right, taking the detailed verified narrative outside discussions like this to a broader platform is necessary. The library closure debate is one such platform, which is why I think it’s necessary to couch critiques of IWC’s plans in terms which include a critique of the rogue activities of the dominant clique,… Read more »