The action by York TUC, UNISON, York Student Socialists and York Stop the Cuts outside the town centre Explore this afternoon to coincide with National Libraries Day was a resounding success. Thank you to all those who turned up to lend a hand distributing leaflets and gathering signatures for our petition. Thanks to our helpers, and a very receptive public, we managed to gather almost all of the 1000 signatures needed to force a debate in the council chamber in just three hours.With volunteers taking petitions to their family, friends and workplaces we expect to reach our goal before the end of next week.
Anyone who has not yet signed the petition is urged to do so on the council’s website. You must register first, but all this takes is a name and an email!
York TUC is proud to have helped organise this action which has raised awareness of the threat to our libraries, funding for which has already been cut by £250,000 this year alone. It is hard to see how a cut of this magnitude can fail to result in a reduction in services, which is particularly detrimental at a time when visits to libraries are on the increase and every week more people visit their local library than go to the cinema.*
Today we talked to people of all ages, from toddlers to teenagers, parents to pensioners about what they valued most about their libraries and their concerns for the future of the service. We found a powerful desire on the part of York residents that their library be kept public and that hours and provision be increased, not reduced.
Though today has been a significant triumph, the fight is not yet over. York TUC looks forward to joining again with UNISON, York Stop The Cuts, Socialist Students and anyone else who wants to keep our libraries public. Petitions are being collected, names are being counted and the concerns of York residents will be heard by the council. Watch this space.
More pictures of the day available on our Facebook page.
*Source: Unisons libraries fact sheet #10