Cambridge Group

Two letters to the Cambridge News

Dear Sir,

Cambridgeshire library services suddenly introduced charges for book reservations in June this year – they are £1 per book for books between Cambridgeshire libraries, £2 for books from Suffolk libraries, and £7.50 for inter-library loans from other national libraries.

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Twelve questions on the campaign against the library reservation charge

Q1. What is the reservation charge?

If the library item you need – let's say it's a book – is out on loan, or if it's held at another Cambridgeshire library, you can ask for it to be reserved for you. When the book's returned from loan or delivered to your library, it will be put aside for you to borrow next. This system helps ensure that shared resources are used efficiently.

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Save our library books

Friday 11 November / 12 midday / Central Library, Lion Yard, Cambridge CB2 3QD

As our campaign against the new library reservation charge continues (see our latest article, 'No Light'), the local writer Deborah Meyler has launched one against another of Cambridgeshire County Council's austerity measures: a major cut to our libraries' stock fund. It's begun with a popular petition, and now a demonstration and photo call outside the Central Library on Friday with Daniel Zeichner MP and Labour councillors.

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Against the NHS Sustainability and Transformation Plans

The Cambridge People's Assembly supports the statement against the NHS Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs) issued by the recent Health Campaigns Together conference in Birmingham. It is vital that the NHS is sustainable – not least as a matter of justice between generations – but the STPs are designed to make sustainable its underfunding.

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Cambridge Defend Education open meeting

Thursday 3 November / 7 p.m. / Outer Parlour, Pembroke College, Trumpington Street, Cambridge CB2 1RF

The student group Cambridge Defend Education will hold its first open meeting of the academic year tomorrow night. Among other things, the meeting will discuss what the government's reforms mean for higher education, and how we can fight for free education and diverse curriculums.

Agenda for the November CPA meeting

Wednesday 2 November / 7.30 p.m. / River Lane Centre, River Lane, Cambridge CB5 8HP

Everyone's welcome at our November meeting, at the wheelchair-accessible River Lane Centre (halfway along the road, opposite the junction with Beche Road and next to a small playground). As always we'll agree the agenda at the start, but here's the latest draft.

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Action Together for Schools organizing meeting

Tuesday 1 November / 7.30 p.m. / CB2 Bistro, 5-7 Norfolk Street, Cambridge CB1 2LD

The local Action Together for Schools campaign for broad, equal, and democratic children's education – everything that Conservative government policy undermines – will hold its next organizing meeting of parents, teachers, and activists on Tuesday. As well as the new prime minister Theresa May's reactionary support for grammar schools, the meeting will discuss SATs, summer-born children, current action by teaching unions, and more.

Minutes of the October CPA meeting

There follow the minutes of our October meeting, including a discussion on the continuing need for a People's Assembly. Our next monthly meeting will be held on Wednesday 2 November at 7.30 p.m., at the wheelchair-accessible River Lane Centre, River Lane, Cambridge CB5 8HP.

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Trade unions past, present, and future

Wednesday 26 October / 5.15 p.m. / Room 5, Mill Lane Lecture Rooms, Mill Lane, Cambridge CB2 1RX

Tonight, Cambridge University and College Union will hold the first event in its new Trade Union Series. The industrial relationist William Brown (books include The Evolution of the Modern Workplace, 2009) and the historian Alastair Reid (books include United We Stand, 2004) will speak on the past, present, and future of trade unions in Britain.

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No light on the library reservation fee

The basis for the library reservation fee for adult users, introduced as an austerity measure by Cambridgeshire County Council in June, remains unclear after the council's response to a set of requests under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. We'll discuss its response below (that response is also attached in full) but present our main findings immediately.

  • The council has been unable to produce documentation of the decision to introduce the fee.
  • The council has been unable to produce evidence that the fee's impact on communities has been considered.
  • An internal council report projected that the fee could discourage two thirds of adult reservations.
  • The fee was to be announced 14 days after the council passed a budget for 2016/17 which didn't include it.

What did we ask? What has the council told us?

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