At last night’s full council meeting, the Lib Dem’s motion calling on the administration to explore mutual ownership models for the library service was passed after a passionate debate before a packed public gallery, and followed the success of three separate petitions calling on the council to rethink its proposals to close 17 of the city’s 27 libraries.
During the debate, Lib Dem Councillor Anthony Negus argued passionately for the retention of the city’s library network, saying “We have only one chance to get this right. If we lose the libraries now, we will never get them back.”
The motion, which received support from the Conservative and Green Parties called for the Mayor to bring forward new proposals based on the long term future of Libraries, a costed solution to buy transition time to a strategic approach that delivers a professionally led mutual model that embraces volunteers and secures the future of the library network. It’s the first time the current administration has been defeated in the Council chamber.
Speaking afterwards Cotham Councillor Negus said: “Libraries are essential for our civic wellbeing and I’m glad that several Labour members heeded my appeal to abstain on this motion, rather than follow their whip. I will be continuing to campaign for on this issue, and to hold the administration to account starting with ensuring they follow up this motion with a proper review of the options.”
Fellow Lib Dem Councillor, Tim Kent, who had earlier presented a petition on the subject added “The Lib Dem group would like to thank not just the Councillors who supported this motion, but also all the campaigners who originated petitions, collected signatures and presented them to us at the council meeting.”
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