Agenda item

Libraries in Harlow

Proposed by Councillor Shannon Jezzard (seconded by Councillor Mark Ingall):

 

“This Council is concerned by Essex County Council’s plans to close public libraries in Harlow. Libraries are vital to promoting literacy and fostering a love of reading amongst all people. They are used by pre-school children taking their first steps towards reading, those at the other end of the school journey and by young adults studying for their exams. Libraries also provide essential services for the least well off in society, providing computer access to people looking for jobs and accommodation, completing Universal Credit forms and for those filling out online school admission applications. This Council believes that library closures run counter to the County's health and wellbeing agenda and therefore requests that the Leader of the Council writes to the County Council urging it to keep all of Harlow’s libraries open.”

Minutes:

Proposed by Councillor Shannon Jezzard (seconded by Councillor Mark Ingall):

 

“This Council is concerned by Essex County Council’s plans to close public libraries in Harlow. Libraries are vital to promoting literacy and fostering a love of reading amongst all people. They are used by pre-school children taking their first steps towards reading, those at the other end of the school journey and by young adults studying for their exams. Libraries also provide essential

services for the least well off in society, providing computer access to people looking for jobs and accommodation, completing Universal Credit forms and for those filling out online school admission applications. This Council believes that library closures run counter to the County's health and wellbeing agenda and therefore requests that the Leader of the Council writes to the

County Council urging it to keep all of Harlow’s libraries open.”

 

Councillor Andrew Johnson, seconded by Councillor Joel Charles proposed the following amendment:

 

“This Council joins Robert Halfon MP in being concerned by Essex County Council’s consultation on plans to close public libraries in Harlow. Libraries are vital to promoting literacy and fostering a love of reading amongst all people.

 

They are used by pre-school children taking their first steps towards reading, those at the other end of the school journey and by young adults studying for their exams. Libraries also provide essential services for the least well off in society, providing computer access to people looking for jobs and accommodation, completing Universal Credit forms and for those filling out online school admission applications.

 

This Council believes that library closures run counter to the County's health and wellbeing agenda and therefore requests that the Leader of the Council writes to the County Council urging it to keep all of Harlow’s libraries open and offers Harlow Council’s support and advice to help achieve this by:

 

·         Investigate grouping all affected libraries together as part of a county- wide independent public service mutual, supported by an anchor revenue generator to ensure the sustainability of this type of model;

 

·         suggesting a cross-county solution for the Districts on the Hertfordshire border;

 

·         opening talks about the shared use of District Council facilities;

 

·         work to secure local assurances about maintaining ongoing access to the county-wide library management system; and

 

·         offering financial contributions, including support to deliver alternative revenue propositions and the potential for the co-location of services.”

The Amendment was debated and a vote was taken. The amendment was lost. Following this Councillor Stefan Mullard (seconded by Councillor Chris Vince) proposed the following amendment.

 

“This Council is concerned by Essex County Council’s plans to close public libraries in Harlow. Libraries are vital to promoting literacy and fostering a love of reading amongst all people. They are used by pre-school children taking their first steps towards reading, those at the other end of the school journey and by young adults studying for their exams. Libraries also provide essential

services for the least well off in society, providing computer access to people looking for jobs and accommodation, completing Universal Credit forms and for those filling out online school admission applications. This Council believes that library closures run counter to the County's health and wellbeing agenda and therefore requests that the Leader of the Council writes to the

County Council urging it to keep all of Harlow’s libraries open and invites the Leader of the Opposition to sign the letter.”

 

Both the proposer and the seconder of the previous motion accepted the amendment and this became the substantive motion.

 

The motion was carried.