Stop the Cuts to Lewisham Libraries and Keep Services Accessible To All
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Huge cuts of £450,000 are planned for Lewisham Libraries Services in 2019, which will have a profoundly negative impact on vulnerable library users, putting at risk the founding principle that libraries are for all.
Lewisham Council are proposing to either slash staffed opening hours by 46% from 64 hours to 35 hours per week at Lewisham, Downham and Deptford Libraries, or to remove all library staff from Downham Library and Deptford Lounge, leaving only self-service at these two well-used hub libraries.
Children and young people, people with disabilities, homeless people, older people, and the digitally excluded will all have difficulty accessing library services without staff. Where will people go for help with applying for Universal Credit and other benefits who are currently signposted to local libraries? These proposed cuts to library staffing are a false economy, placing greater burden on other council services and will make no savings in the long term.
There are also serious concerns about the likelihood of a rise in anti-social behaviour as a result of withdrawing staff from our libraries, making them unsafe no-go areas for children, vulnerable adults and older people. A full Equalities Impact Assessment, Health & Safety Assessment and meaningful public consultation needs to be carried out before any decisions and implementation of cuts.
If the cuts are made, it is likely that Lewisham Council will be failing in its statutory duty to ‘provide a comprehensive and efficient library service for all persons desiring to make use thereof’. It is with regard to ‘all persons’ that the Council will be failing their statutory duty, if staff are not available to support access to library services for the most disadvantaged people in our community.
Library services are essential for communities to thrive. Help to defend these three important libraries - Downham, Deptford Lounge and Lewisham.
*In addition the government must reverse local authority funding changes that have cut our council budget in half in recent years, leaving it so under resourced it is unable to safely fulfil its statutory duties.
Sign the petition and protect the future of Lewisham Libraries!
The petition will be forwarded to Lewisham Mayor and Councillors for their consideration, and relevant MPs!
For more information about the campaign, please visit https://savelewishamlibraries.blogspot.com
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SaveLewishamLibraries needs your help with “Councillor Jonathan Slater, Cabinet Member for the Community Sector : Stop the Cuts to Lewisham Libraries and Keep Services Accessible To All”. Join SaveLewishamLibraries and 248 supporters today.