Thank you to everyone that showed their support for Kennington's library on Monday.
We had a great turnout and a noisy, colourful procession from St Swithun's School to the Village Centre. The line of people stretched practically half the distance that was walked.
On arrival the Village Centre was packed out with over 200 people, aged from two weeks to over 90 years. The children in particular were extremely passionate about supporting their library and should be praised for their behaviour on the day.
Short speeches were given by School Head, Mrs Evans and Rev'd Em Coley, about the importance of reading and community.
Over 600 letters and posters were presented to Keith Mitchell (leader of Oxfordshire County Council), who must have been impressed by the strength of feeling that the letter writing and event illustrated.
Korky Paul enthralled the children with a Winnie Witch story that involved lots of interaction. MG Harris gave a short but thrilling excerpt from the first Joshua Files book in the series.
Keith Mitchell was given the floor to outline the background to the decision to make cuts and an update on the Council’s latest thinking. He explained that the cuts to the library budget are necessary and inevitable. However, he does understand why there is such strong resistance to the closure of libraries and the County Council are currently in the process of considering alternative ways of cutting library budgets without closing them.
A packed hall witnessed Cllr Mitchell's promise that the consultation will be genuine and our suggestion of equal cuts will be considered. He also mentioned that they have been in talks with a US company who is proposing to take over the running of the libraries as they currently stand and this is being taken seriously. So we have won our first victory-- the promise of a genuine consultation that takes alternative suggestions into consideration. Within this consultation we asked for the professional advice recommending the closure of these 20 libraries be scrutinised.
The event was covered on the BBC's 6 o'clock and 10 o'clock news on Monday. ITV sent a film crew and coverage is scheduled for the 12th Feb. The Oxford Mail have an article in today’s paper.
We thank all the people of Kennington for their extraordinary show of support. This shows that Kennington is a Village that stands together and, in the words of our Parish Council Chairman, Peter Biggs, "gets things done".