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.
Hosted 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
- 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.