Need to cherish our libraries

Hastings Observer letters
Hastings Observer letters

From: Eric Waters, Ingleside Crescent, Lancing

In talking about the proposed closure of Ore library Laurie Loe, the Conservative county councillor for Baird and Ore, welcomed the fact that his division is within a short bus ride of Hastings Library, and the County Council itself has stated that none of the residents of Ore, together with the residents of Langley, Mayfield, Pevensey Bay, Polegate, Ringmer and Willingdon, will live further than a 20 minute drive from an alternative library.

Good news all round?

No, because those in authority are assuming that either everyone in Ore has a car, or access to one – not true – or can afford to continually splash out on bus fares to get down to Robertson Street to change their books – some can, some cannot.

The council has said that, once these libraries have closed, it will set out to ‘improve digital skills’, whatever that might mean to people who only want to be able to read the latest best seller written by J.K. Rowling or Stephen King.

Incidentally, yet another assumption on the part of the out-of-touch councillors; everyone has got a computer.

They also reckon that the closures will save £653,000 a year – a sum that, coincidentally, is not far off what the 50 county councillors put in their pockets every year under the headings of allowances and expenses.

So, how about scrubbing the ‘pay’ of these politicians and keeping the libraries open?

The residents of Ore will, of course, be invited to take part in a public consultation.

Translation: “East Sussex County Council always likes to know what the public wants before it does what it wants.”

Before going one step further Mr. Loe and his colleagues need to hear and inwardly digest the words of the former children’s laureate, Chris Riddell, which he used when urging the authority to ‘think again’.

“Rather than fewer libraries we need better resourced libraries, we need to cherish the libraries we have. If we lose them the great tragedy is we can never get them back.”