I read with interest ‘Consulting on library cuts’ by Nicholas Dobson. It provided a useful background to the recent judicial review brought against Lincolnshire County Council. However, what it could not provide or appreciate is the power of ordinary people to make a difference.
In December 2013 I was instructed by the Save Lincolnshire Libraries campaigners to assist them in mounting a challenge against library cuts. At that stage they were faced with their statutory library service being reduced from more than 40 libraries to 15, and a county council executive that would not listen to their appeals and was determined to cut the service.
The campaigners were not only passionate about libraries, but also determined not to let the cuts happen without a fight. Their enthusiasm and commitment was infectious, and they supported the case throughout. They also understood that the legal action was just one part of a wider campaign.
Mr Dobson observes that, ‘in practical terms, the council is ultimately likely to achieve its aim following an improved decision process’. I have to say that this is a wholly negative conclusion and of course ignores the most important aspect of this case – the campaigners themselves. They will continue their campaign of resistance to library cuts armed with a small victory from the High Court.
Paul Heron, Public Interest Lawyers, Birmingham