Petition to save school libraries launched

A PETITION has been set up to try and get a council to rethink pulling the county-wide Schools Library Service.

The service provides facilities, including mobile services, books and specialist resources, to libraries at schools either through an annual subscription or as a pay as you use service.

Herts County Council’s libraries cabinet panel voted last week to recommend it should be scrapped, due to a financial deficit.

But North Herts group We Heart Libraries is campaigning to save the service, and has set up a petition which, at the time of going to press, had collected 145 signatures.

“It’s a vital service, especially for primary schools and smaller secondary schools,” said Hitchin-based Andy Darley, who heads the group.

“School librarians tend to be working on their own, they don’t tend to have a network.

“This has all happened at very short notice, it was kept pretty quiet. The agenda item was added late, so we’ve tried to do what we can.”

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The petition wasn’t presented at Cabinet on Monday, when a final decision will be made, but Mr Darley hopes it will make councillors take note.

“I absolutely believe councillors when they say they are supportive of libraries, but their votes aren’t where their hearts are,” he added.

“The petition has grown really fast. It won’t be presented at the Cabinet meeting, but it is being noticed. That’s the aim now – to get councillors taking note.”