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Book stays open on 11 closure-hit libraries

But people-power had nothing to do with reprieve, says Mayor Joe

Written by . Published on November 10th 2014.


Book stays open on 11 closure-hit libraries
 

BOOK-LOVERS across Liverpool thought it was an open-and-shut case but, in a surprise announcement today, Mayor Joe Anderson declared that all 11 closure-threatened libraries were to stay open. 

But he said people power had nothing to do with the reprieve, even though campaigner Ruth Knox insisted public responses  - and a 10,000 signature petition - to the closure proposals had been a major part.

The Mayor added that it should not be seen as a U-turn. Rather, he said, £1.6m in savings had been found during consultations, and that only £,600,000 more was needed.

"People can say what they want about people power, and I'll be disappointed if people try to claim that that's what it is," he said. 

'Proud'

In a statement the Mayor went on: “As you know we have been working very hard over the last couple of months to secure a future for all 19 libraries in Liverpool.  I can confirm today that none of our libraries will close.

“There is much to be proud about our library service – whether it is the increasingly popular e-book service or the award-winning Central Library – and after months of negotiations we have been able to enhance our proposed core statutory Library Service with alternative library services delivered by community groups and local organisations.



“The changes to the library service are against a backdrop of severe financial challenges imposed on the city, because our funding from Central Government has been cut by 58% which is affecting every service in the city. 

“This includes the £10m libraries budget, but also other services that support the most vulnerable in our city like mental health services and the elderly, meaning that those who rely on us the most are affected the most.”

Yet seemingly contradicting his dismissal of public pressure playing a part, the Mayor added: “The on-going consultation about the future of the library service with local people, organisations and community groups has shown how many people share our passion for our libraries. It has also clearly shown that they are willing to get involved to help keep them running and I would like to thank them and commend them for that.”

Mayor Anderson said, so far, viable proposals have been received for seven of the 11 libraries and the council is continuing to plan the future of the remainder. 



There may have to be changes to the way these libraries are run, with changed opening hours for example, but the proposals are an exciting mixture of ideas with local community organisations and voluntary groups joining up to form new partnerships with Liverpool City Council, adds the Mayor.

A report will be brought to cabinet identifying all proposals received to date and seeking cabinet approval for our plan to keep all 19 libraries open.” 

The proposal to close 11 city libraries, more than half of the city's libraries in total, would have left most of the north end of the city a literary desert. They are/were: Breck Road; Dovecot; Fazakerley; Kensington; Lee Valley; Old Swan; Sefton Park; Spellow Lane; Walton; Wavertree; West Derby.

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51 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Paul WardNovember 10th 2014.

"People can say what they want about people power, and I'll be disappointed if people try to claim that that's what it is" Yes, god forbid Anderson should listen to the plebs

Len DinglibraryNovember 10th 2014.

This really does sum up a lot of what is wrong with the Mayor's attitude. I am right and everybody else is wrong. Anything good, it's down to me. Offering consultation and then saying decisions are nothing to do with the opinions of those who took a contrary line and dismissing them out of hand. It shows the complete lack of understanding that while people appreciate strong leadership, they don't appreciate somebody who tells everybody who disagrees, no matter how politely, that they are wrong and then resorts to ridiculing their arguments. Sadly, it ends up with the mayor being the one who looks increasingly ridiculous. If there was any kind of political sense within his cabinet, this should have been turned into a story of how deeply they were concerned by people's upset, how they listened hard to the views and pulled out all the stops to prevent the closure that was being forced upon them by this wicked coalition government that has pillaged money from the city, and that in this context they have continued to do their very best, without giving false hope, but have now achieved sufficient savings to keep the libraries open. He should then have thanked the people and said how he shared their views on protecting services and will do so wherever he can. But no. It was nothing to do with the mob, for that is how he seems to view anyone with a different opinion. It was all ME. Well I suspect many people have had their fill and I very much hope that Liverpool Labour will get another candidate in place for the next mayoral election or go back to a proper democratic council system instead of this apparent Godfather. The only people he does seem to listen to are the developers, to whom he wants to flog off parts of the public parks that belong to the people of this city not him. Hiding behind the excuse that all they are doing is putting together a list of spaces under The Local Plan as per instruction from Central Government. But if you ask me the deals are already almost done if we let them get away with it. They can't wait to start building on Calderstones, Woolton Fields and anywhere else the developers are drooling over.

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousNovember 10th 2014.

Hear hear. They are worse than Hatton and Co this lot. Oh, I almost forgot, there isn't a Co, or a "lot" there is just Uncle Josef.

AnonymousNovember 10th 2014.

No mention of staff and exactly how they will be run. Handed over to the Reader Organisation in the mansion house or to Cameron's Big Society volunteers to do council jobs for free?

AnonymousNovember 10th 2014.

Nothing to do with the Coalition government except to hold the Merseyside councils to account for years of pandering to the non-workers and hanger-ons. Kensington Regeneration £40 million gone; Central Library £50 million wasted; Liverpool One- £2 billion wasted, etc. While areas like Bellevelle, Old Swan, Dingle, etc have been deprived of resources for some 60 years.

1 Response: Reply To This...
Steve FaragherNovember 11th 2014.

Kenny Regen was £62.5 million( but looks like 62.5p) and employing the staff the rest of the council didnt want....I live in Kenny, and I play spot the difference everyday.

Pete JonesNovember 10th 2014.

Isn't it obvious that the mayor is saying it wasn't down to 'people power' in order to avoid everyone just kicking off every time any decision is made? The libraries are staying open (thank God) and you're having a go. The guy can't win eh!

1 Response: Reply To This...
Steve FaragherNovember 11th 2014.

he's winning all the time

Rosemary DomanNovember 10th 2014.

Well, hurrah for that! 11 libraries to be saved from closure is good news, however vague the methods to be used.Mayor Anderson is a 'one'! Is he saying he doesn't believe in people power though serving in a democratic organisation? Agree with comments about the listing of green spaces for possible future development. Join your local environmental/heritage society to put pressure on the Council to preserve them. Our parks and fields were left to the people of Liverpool, not the Council - whatever Joe Anderson and his fellow members may believe.

1 Response: Reply To This...
Katie54November 10th 2014.

Anderson told the BBC last week (news site) that having an elected mayor means that nowadays in Liverpool "The people have greater involvement in the decisions that affect their lives - the very definition of democracy" (definition!!). Yet he's "disappointed" if people attribute this to people power. So the only thing he wants people involved in is exercising their vote and putting him in power. This sounds like a modern variant on "one man, one vote, once..." Not a precedent to follow.

A.Citizen L1November 10th 2014.

pete jones... Is that the same Peter Jones who works in LCC?

A.Citizen L1November 10th 2014.

Scared of losing your job peter? Do you Need a torch up there its probably awfully dark.

AnonymousNovember 10th 2014.

What's probably happened is they've had a look at the Wirral plan for the libraries. Keep them open yes but for 3 hrs a day a few days a week. Staff them with mainly un qualified volunteers without thinking...hmmm book purchase, cash handling, cataloguing, children's services CRB checks. Libraries are a professional business requiring professional staff. Not a cake stall at the local church fete.

AnonymousNovember 10th 2014.

All this unpleasantness could be avoided if the Mayor simply thought through his actions. The libraries issue was bound to be fiercely fought by the people. Similarly, if he had thought through the hare brained plan to turn the Cunard building into a cruise liner departure hall he wouldn't have been so widely ridiculed, almost half a page in he current Private Eye. But then perhaps he has no one to advise him. Worse, perhaps he does but won't listen. Who knows?

2 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousNovember 11th 2014.

Yes, But we elect him to think and to know

AnonymousNovember 11th 2014.

No we don't elect him or any politician to think and to know. We elect them to decide, based on the best evidence and impartial advice. Not on half-baked proposals from people who are either incompetent and/or anything but impartial. All based on the values and principles they set out in their manifesto. But what we've got is Joe Anderson, who clearly thinks that because he is the elected Mayor he can just make things up as he goes along.

Steve FaragherNovember 11th 2014.

I attended the Kensington Library consultation and the word from the top table was, there's no money its already been decided, but we're having this consultation just in case the public have a better idea than the people who are paid to have the ideas. I love the way Uncle Joe is always so dogmatic, it wasnt people power, bus lanes cause congestion (edge lane for example, no use lanes ever but constantly grid locked. eh?) next they will be telling us Scotland should vote No and, Ed and Luciana are the saviours of the working class, what's his game plan, hereditary mayor. MP. adopting Jake Morrison as the son he never had? Answers on a postcard to The Titanic and Asbestos cruise terminal, Da Peierhead, near Da Giants....

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousNovember 14th 2014.

I hate sloppy, lazy and careless punctuation. Completely undermines any message that might be hidden in your poorly constructed meanderings. 2/10

Steve FaragherNovember 11th 2014.

I hate anonymous posts on here......

Steve MunbyNovember 11th 2014.

Sorry to rain on some of the rants but the idea that Joe and the Labour administration has caved into "people power" over the libraries is not convincing. Firstly the protests were very small compared to other campaigns we've seen, and mainly seemed to involve old Trots and a few Greens. I don't recall receiving any emails about library closures from constituents and the same is true for other councillors I've spoken to. There has been a general concern over the libraries but it has not compared for a moment to those expressed over sports centres, children's centres or green spaces. The other reason it doesn't explain what's happening is that while we've been concerned about libraries the advice from "campaigners" has been ignored. The advice from the likes of Alan Gibbons and Old Swan Against the Cuts was to pursue the old 'Militant' defiance strategy - no cuts, bankrupt the council: that'll show the Tories! This position, eloquently argued by Tony Mulhearn amongst others has been repeatedly ignored by the people of Liverpool at elections. The alternative from the Greens has been along the lines of 'robbing Peter to pay Paul'. The strategy that we've pursued - frankly the only one available, but none the easier for all that - is to find ways of providing the services more cheaply or making savings elsewhere to invest in libraries. Transferring seven of the buildings and/or the direct library provision to community groups, social enterprises or other 3rd sector organisations has helped us deliver substantial savings. Taking Liverpool Direct back in house has produced savings elsewhere, which can help support the libraries and other services. Land transactions (yes dealing with dirty developers...) provide capital which can be invested in buildings to reduce running costs. What the consultation has allowed us is time to work with partners to develop alternatives, not perhaps as life-enhancing as standing in the streets shouting slogans but a lot more library-enhancing. There's still a lot of work to be done to secure the long term future of the libraries. But I for one am proud to be a councillor and part of an administrastion that, yet again, has found a way to protect the city from the effects of the most savage cuts local government and Liverpool has ever known. Councillor Steve Munby

5 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousNovember 11th 2014.

You are misrepresenting the people who protested this and also misrepresenting their concerns. Very few of the people posting and complaining are or were ex-Trots - there have been a great many "ordinary" people protesting not just about the proposals themselves, but the shoddy and incomplete data on which they were based. As for e-mails to councillors, it is precisely because people aren't particularly political that they haven't been doing this - as well, of course, as the fact that emailing councillors strikes most people, these days, as a total waste of time. If the councillor in question is a member of the opposition, they have and are just ridiculed. And if the councillor is Labour, they will most likely ignore the email and say nothing. As you do.

mickeydrippin'November 11th 2014.

Anonymous. A person does not have to be "political" in order to contact his/her councillor by email, snail mail or even telephone. People who wish to object to any council policies should definitely contact their local councillors and, if they have any particular ideas of their own, they should bring those to any meeting that might be arranged. All councillors know that if they ignore their electorate, they can be voted out of office. Petitions are a waste of time, as is standing outside a council office with placards, bawling anti-cuts slogans.

AnonymousNovember 11th 2014.

Steve Munby talks of "caving in" to people power as if listening to the wishes of ordinary citizens was a weakness. He also seems to have quite a lot of contempt for the people he is meant to represent.

Katie54November 12th 2014.

Yes (the last) Anonymous is right. His comment is pretty contemptuous, particularly the dismissal of the demonstrators as people seeking some kind of life enhancement. You may well disagree with what you choose to call the old Trots - I do too, for what it's worth - but surely anyone who gives their time and energy to protest in the way that they do deserves some respect for doing it, however misguided you may think they are. And don't the authors and others who protested the cuts deserve even a mention? Then there's the patronising dismissal of anyone else's ideas as "robbing Peter to pay Paul" - surely looking elsewhere for savings is precisely what you should have been doing for the last 4 years. It is certainly what you should have been doing about the Library Service. None of you appear to have even looked at the figures to see if there were savings to be made, before rubber stamping this proposal. If you had you would have seen that it was full of ridiculous charges for maintenance services of various kinds that many of the libraries in question didn't actually use or need, council tax payments which cancel themselves out (how is one part of the Council not paying another part of the council a saving??), etc. etc. Did any of you ever challenge any of these figures? Ask questions, etc ? . Never mind pride, you should be ashamed that such a half-baked proposal got as far as it did.

Nadyia LenninNovember 18th 2014.

Joe Anderson was asked many times to meet campaigners , some of them were children who came out to help stop the closures , mums who need there services . You have said your proud to be behind the saving of the libraries which is fine and well but our you in support of mr Anderson taking to the air ways and slating people because there passionate about libraries and wanting to save them !!

AnonymousNovember 11th 2014.

Its pretty obvious what happened, they decided to close them before doing the sums and it turned out that when they did to the sums they could afford them after all. If it all wasn't done using taxpayer money it would be laughable.

A person from L8November 11th 2014.

What confuses me about the tone on this thread is this: the Mayor and councillors announce their plans for library closures, and invite citizens to participate in a public debate. Opinions, usually against closures, are expressed, which is understandable. The Mayor, grappling with horrendous and unimaginable cuts, somehow manages to rescue the libraries. Then he says its not a u-turn or 'people power' that caused the reprieve. You would have thought the Mayor would have happily proclaimed that against all the odds, and expressing his gratitude for the affection we citizens have for our libraries he is determined they should stay open; he would be seen and valued as a real listening and caring leader of the people. He would have gone up in the esteem of many, a number of whom feel let down in this city. But the administration has blown it by insisting we the people had not involvement at all. So next year I'll not bother to vote if my involvement in civic life falls on deaf ears.

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousNovember 12th 2014.

To do that Joe would have to entertain the possibility that he was wrong in the first place

Josie MullenNovember 14th 2014.

How little respect the Labour party has for the opinions of the people of Liverpool, and Steve Munby reflects that in a spectacular way. So, according to him it was mostly "old Trots and a few Greens" who were passionately against the closure of 11 libraries. Has he forgotten or just couldn't be bothered to attach any importance to the fact that there was a 10,000 signature petition, numerous demonstrations, many articles to the Echo etc etc Anderson states, "People can say what they want about people power, and I'll be disappointed if people try to claim that that's what it is" He makes out that 'people power' are negative dirty words. I think it's very positive and inspiring that so many people were concerned about the possible closure of their libraries. And when so many people speak up to defend the libraries shouldn't the ruling party be pleased that people care. Of course not! - Anderson and his nodding Labour councillors don't respect any opposition to their plans.He should have spent time looking into all the possibilities of saving the libraries BEFORE he declared that they were in danger of being closed....that logical. The Localism Act states very clearly many times that local people should be at the heart of the democratic process and should be at the heart of decision-making......are you having a laugh!.....democracy is dead in Liverpool. Anderson denied us a referendum because he said he had got a great financial deal from the government if he went down a mayoral route[later denied by the government] Now he's saying that Liverpool got one of the worst financial settlements from the government. We are never consulted....the first thing the people of Walton knew about the possible sale of part or possibly most of Walton Hall Park was when they saw it splashed over the front page of the Liverpool Echo. People have had petitions, demonstrated outside the Town Hall etc about the terrible potential loss of park and green open space, but they are never listened to. It says in the draft Local Plan that green open space would only be used for housing etc 'in exceptional circumstances'...are you having another laugh! Councillors are supposed to represent the people in their ward.....LONG LIVE PEOPLE POWER!!!!!!!!!!!

3 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousNovember 14th 2014.

You need a hobby girl

John BradleyNovember 14th 2014.

What she wants is a seat on the council, but as she a Lib Dem she more responsible for the problems than the council. john4liverpool.wordpress.com/…/…

mickeydrippin'November 14th 2014.

I think that information leaflets from the Council, on a variety of local topics - such as libraries and green spaces - ARE put through people's doors. Sadly however, they normally arrive with other advertising leaflets, treated as junk mail and consigned straight into the blue bin without being read.

Josie MullenNovember 14th 2014.

Dear John and Anonymous - sorry if the truth disturbs you, at least I use my real name as I have nothing to hide. Oh yes I was a LibDem councillor for 10 years. - but haven't been a member of the party for 4 years. However, it was really good to see the Greens, LibDems, Liberals and one Independent coming together on Wednesday night to try and fight the sale of green open space in Liverpool - there's good people in all parties.If you think that I am politically motivated, you are wrong - it's just called having an opinion based on evidence....but I won't be discussing that with you.I HATE DICTATORSHIPS. What I wrote above was the combined opinions of all the people I spoke to outside the Town Hall at the demo on Wednesday....and they were Labour, LibDems, Greens etc and people with no particular political affiliation. If you think we are living in a democracy at the moment and you find Anderson and Munby's arrogant and dismissive attitude to local people acceptable - then good luck to you. I won't be blogging on this site anymore as I'm off to North Korea on a fact-finding mission!

6 Responses: Reply To This...
John BradleyNovember 14th 2014.

I'll see if I can get them to keep you.

AnonymousNovember 14th 2014.

Don't go Josie. Take no notice of Bradley, nobody else does.

John BradleyNovember 14th 2014.

The anonymous coward claims to be speaking on behalf of others.

JeffNovember 16th 2014.

Actually Bradley, I rather suspect that Anon speaks for the majority of the forum...you hang around this place like an omnipresent bad stink..waiting to pounce on and insult anyone who doesn't subscribe to your narrow minded City Council world view. Try thinking for yourself for a change instead of mouthing the propaganda of the Municipal Buildings HQ like a Scouse Lord Charles to Anderson's Ray Allen..

MartyNovember 16th 2014.

Agreed Jeff

JeanieNovember 16th 2014.

Hear hear! That Bradley is the biggest pest on the beach.

Katie54November 14th 2014.

He (or she) can certainly speak on my behalf. Why on earth be gratuitously rude? It might make you feel good but most other people just cringe - not the way to make any kind of point.

8 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousNovember 15th 2014.

Hear hear Katie.

John BradleyNovember 15th 2014.

again, lots of talking for other, silent people, but of course that isn't rude or presumptuous its Katie and Anon.

AnonymousNovember 16th 2014.

John, the words lots, rude and presumptuous do not have the meanings you appear to ascribe to them. Ever considered using a dictionary?

John BradleyNovember 16th 2014.

Ever considered not being a coward and using your real name?

Katie54November 16th 2014.

John, surely you appreciate that allowing people to post anonymously means you often get the kind of honest comments that contribute most to a discussio? . Quite apart from the fact that people can and do make up all sorts of names, why does it matter who the person is? We're not judging the individual, but the argument they make (or, as often applies in your case, fail to make).

John BradleyNovember 16th 2014.

It matters because you cannot work out which anon is which, and it allows people in the real world to hide their unpleasant side. Though you seem quite happy to flaunt yours.

Katie54November 16th 2014.

Pot, kettle??

John BradleyNovember 16th 2014.

I have never denied being a curmudgeon or tried to hide it, or had a go at others for being the same.

DeniseNovember 15th 2014.

Like my parents I always voted, but some years ago became a floating voter. I longed for the return of the days when I could proudly vote for a listening, caring, sticking up for the people party. Labour lost its way in the 1990s because it stopped listening, caring and started sticking up for itself (ie the councillors). Today we have the most undemocratic rulers of our city in our history, and it will get worse before it gets better. Greedy Labour wants to increase its stranglehold next May by adding to the 79 councillors it already has on its benches. Its the same with Labour nationally, everybody knows there are Labour MPs anonymously saying Ed Milliband is wrong for the job as leader. It is hard to believe among the 79 councillors there is not a sprinkling dismayed with what the leadership is doing. Those that dare not speak their minds, fearing they will be dispatched to some faraway gulag for 're-education' and 'socialist awareness training'. If any city in the country is tempted to go down the road of a democratically elected mayor perhaps they should follow what is happening here. Finally, if the 'civic land sale catalogue' is just a government exercise, why didn't it contain a foreword from the Mayor assuring us ... Dear Subject of Mine. Don 't worry about the list, we are flogging nothing, its just that we have to do it, so sleep peacefully'. The fact us the mayor and the council WILL sell some open spaces, the stables in Calderstones is green space (going) , the Meadowlands (gone) is green space, and one of the few green lungs in North Liverpool, Walton Hall Park (offered). By the time this administration is dispatched (as they will be eventually) their legacy will be a far less fair and greener city.

1 Response: Reply To This...
Katie54November 15th 2014.

Great post.

Nadyia LenninNovember 18th 2014.

I suggest steven mumby views YouTube and listens to people speeches on there about the libraries closing most were people who loved books , kids , mums . No one asked for illegal budgets they asked for the truth they asked for reasons to be given on why 11 libraries in poor areas were to close . I suggest you get a copy if the interview with pete price on city talk were the mayor attacks local authors , maybe if you actually met some of the campaigners you would understand why they campaigned . !!!!

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