A FESTIVE war of words has erupted after campaigners against proposed library cuts accused County Hall chiefs of ‘banning Christmas’.
The Friends of St John’s Library organised a half hour service in the library garden and invited user groups and individuals, including local councillors.
But Coun Richard Udall claimed the county’s library service intervened and banned the event, claiming it would be political.
However, the Conservative-led council countered and said the event had been promoted before any arrangements were made with staff.
Coun Udall defied the ‘ban’ for Saturday’s (December 16) and said:
“They tried to ban Christmas, they said singing three carols and having mince pies was a political event and banned us.
“They will discover St John’s residents are made of stronger stuff, we will not be told what to do.
“We went ahead anyway, we sang our hearts out and nibbled at the mince pies and delivered a big thankyou to the librarians who work tirelessly on our behalf”.
“The sad scrooge like politicians who run Worcestershire County Council are out of touch with the public and think they can impose their will upon us.
“We have defied them, Christmas will not be cancelled in St John’s”.
“Proposals to cut staffed hours to just 22 hours a week at the library are a disgrace.
“More than 1,500 people have signed apetition against the cuts and we will continue to fight the proposals. We believe libraries need librarians,” he added.
Coun Marcus Hart, cabinet member for communities said:
“An event which was not being promoted as a carol service and which heavily focused on Libraries Unlocked changes in St John’s Library was promoted by the Friends of St John’s Library before being formally discussed or arrangements being made with library staff.
“We are hosting many festive events across Worcestershire Libraries including a Christmas Story and Craft event on Saturday (December 23) at St John’s Library.
“We are currently finalising our arrangements for Libraries Unlocked introduction sessions for customers to explain how the new service will work at St John’s Library.
“These sessions will provide opportunities for St John’s Library members and the ‘Friends of St John’s Library’ to find out about how Libraries Unlocked will work, to ask questions and to make suggestions for how the community can make the most of the new service.
“Libraries Unlocked is expected to be operational at St John’s Library in early 2024.