'Betrayal of trust and an insult to sensibility’
Bitterne Park School alumnus, author and BBC TV wildlife expert Chris Packham has signed the petition opposing cuts to Cobbett Road Library’s opening hours, describing the idea as “short-termist lunacy” – and has suggested library resources should instead be strengthened and hours extended.
Photo under CC3 by Waggers based on an original photo by Humphrey the Camel
Cobbett Road Library, which is also used as a meeting place by a wide range of community groups, is facing cuts to its current 29.5 opening hours of over 50%, which would take them down to just 14.5 hours a week – a move campaigners say is tantamount to “closure by stealth”. The fund used to buy books and other items for loan and information across city libraries could also be slashed by £50,000. The council says the proposals have come about due to cuts from central government funding.
But the BBC Two Springwatch presenter slated the plans.
‘Serious and damaging mistake’
“In an age when the need for good education and strong community spirit is truly needed, this insensitive, short-sighted and short-termist lunacy should be exposed for what it is – a very serious and damaging mistake.”
He said he, like many others, “significantly supplemented” his education in Southampton’s libraries.
“I read, revised, plotted and schemed; I dreamed and devised a life in those semi-silent rooms – and now libraries are so, so much more: Cobbett Road Library is many things to many people of all ages and all walks of life, and such draconian cuts and closures will be ruinous in so many ways.
“This place has become a real focus for a rich community of children and adults alike. We need all our libraries to be strengthened, to be better resourced and better funded, we need them open longer hours - not fewer. These proposals betray a serious shortcoming in the reasoning and priorities of those who we have elected to act in our best interests. It is a betrayal of trust and an insult to sensibility.
“Please oppose it vigorously,” urged Packham.
Save our Library – Again – bitternepark.info; includes petition and poster downloads, contact details for lobbying etc
Denham: Long term ambitious library strategy needed – bitternepark.info
Library hours could be slashed – portswood.info
Council’s libraries “service user consultation” until Februrary 11, 2013 from this link.
Online petition opposing cuts to Cobbett Road Library’s opening hours