by awitherick on 12 December, 2011
Herts County Council’s Schools Library Service is to be axed. The service, which provides staff support to the County’s school libraries, will close from next April.
At the Libraries Cabinet Panel (7th December), 8 Conservatives voted to end the contract on 31 March 2012, while the Panel’s 3 Lib Dems voted against. Labour’s representative on the Panel did not attend and did not even send apologies.
Paul Goggins, leading for the LibDems, accused the Tories of ‘giving up far too easily and too soon’. While acknowledging that there had been a small fall in demand from schools, the Lib Dems proposed that a scaled-down service should be run for another year.
‘We could have reduced the current number of staff – 12 – and made every effort to persuade more schools to buy into the service,’ said Paul. ‘The estimated loss this year was £41,000 – less than a sixth of the staff costs. We could have lost two staff but kept the other ten positions, as well as keeping the service. Once a valued service like this closes, it never re-opens.’
Chris White, Herts Lib Dem Group Leader, said: ‘I’m hugely disappointed by the Conservatives’ decision to axe the Schools Library Service. There are 4 million children across the country who don’t own a book – we should be giving Hertfordshire’s children more access to books, not taking it away.’