A Real Alternative to Library Closures and Volunteers

The Cabinet meeting on Wednesday 28th September is scheduled to cover the results of the consultation exercise and revised Library Review proposals. The library service has been talking to community groups and we expect to hear how these discussions have been progressing.

The Cabinet may decide to remove funding from libraries where they think the community has a chance of keeping the library open – we would strongly urge the council not to do this, because volunteer libraries are unsustainable and nowhere near enough planning has been done to ascertain if the libraries would even last a few months outside of council control. If they fail before March 2012, any efforts to find money to save them in the next financial year would be pointless.

Many Labour Councillors who were elected in May this year stood on a platform of opposing library closures. They do not believe that volunteer libraries are a viable solution, and the Labour Group now has a sufficient majority in the Council to vote through sufficient  resources to keep the libraries open.

The libraries are currently facing a £1,346,490 budget cut. The Labour Group, along with other councillors, could find enough money to  through alternative budget savings and/or an increase in council tax rates (which are currently among the lowest in England) to avoid cutting the library budget. The Mayor has said on many occasions that he does not want to close the libraries – this is his opportunity to save them. It is now vital for all local councillors to work together to keep all the libraries open and council run, which is a real possibility.

However, if the Mayor takes the decision to remove funding from the 14 threatened branches on the 28th and goes back on his word to allow them to stay open until March 2012, it will be almost impossible to reopen the branches and reinstate the staff who will be made redundant, let alone salvage or replace the stock that will be destroyed or sold.

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8 Responses to A Real Alternative to Library Closures and Volunteers

  1. Pingback: Save Doncaster Libraries: A Real Alternative to Library Closures and Volunteers

  2. Steve of Bawtry says:

    OK, so your alternative, which we’ve all been waiting for, is “alternative budget savings” and “an increase in council tax”.

    That is not any alternative unless you spell out in detail what these savings are and why cuts to these services are preferable to cuts in libraries.

    Also, please point out how a rise in Council Tax benefits people in Doncaster who are amongst the poorest in the country.

    • Lauren says:

      Steve,

      Save Doncaster Libraries don’t know the details of the savings and proposals that the Labour group intends to put forward. I’m sure we’ll hear about on 28th September, if not before. If you disagree with the proposals, you should explain why through the democratic process in place within the local council system. There are opportunities to speak at council meetings. More information can be found on the council website: http://www.doncaster.gov.uk

      Lauren

  3. Steve of Bawtry says:

    So, you’re telling me there is a “real alternative”, but you can’t tell me what that alternative is, other than “there are savings that can be made from, er, some other stuff . . . somewhere . . . I think . . or raise council tax . . . perhaps”?

    Sorry, but if there IS an alternative, can you please be clear what it is before you go around supporting it?

  4. Lauren says:

    I think it’s acceptable and important to mention that there is an alternative to closures and a flawed volunteer agenda and that the Labour group and others believe it to be a viable solution. It needs to be mentioned before the Cabinet meeting in order to ensure that the potential (and, we’re assured, realistic) method of saving the library budget doesn’t go to waste – there’s no point holding fire until the Mayor’s given the orders for closure and there’s no going back now, is there?

    Be patient, do.

  5. Steve of Bawtry says:

    In which case howabout headlining this article “A Possible Alternative to Library Closures and Volunteers MAY have arisen – we’ll find out later”.

    Or else it looks like you’re prepared to accept anything to keep libraries open.

    Please don’t tell me to be patient. If there is an alternative, tell me about it. If there isn’t, or if you are not in a position to judge whether this alternative is “real” or not, then hold fire.

  6. Lauren says:

    Yeah, somehow that just doesn’t have the same ring to it?

    We’re not prepared to accept anything to keep libraries open – for example, we’re not prepared to accept the council putting unfair pressure on its citizens to run a service that the council has a legal duty to provide. We’re not prepared to accept (further) deprofessionalisation and we’re not prepared to accept a (further) reduced level of service. Save Doncaster Libraries believe that the libraries can’t afford to have any more of their (already significantly reduced) budget cut, particularly when it’s such an underfunded and struggling service in the first place. You can’t fix it with less money.

  7. Steve of Bawtry says:

    It would not have the same ring to it, but it would at least have the virture of being true.

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