2-tier service, with no winners.

Bear with us, this post will be a long one.

Long-term, active campaigner Doug tabled the following question to the Mayor, which was answered at a full council meeting on Thursday 12th July, “I would appreciate a breakdown of all the current opening hours of Libraries currently operated by volunteers and the opening hours in the same libraries in February 2012 (say 13th February).

The response (on behalf of the Mayor, author unknown) is below, with SDL comments within parentheses.

Details of the exact opening times, as they are now, and as they were in February, are available for public view [Where?  How? Certainly not on the Council's own website, hence the question]. It is clear that some community managed libraries have maintained opening times comparable with the libraries as they were in February. Other libraries are open for fewer hours, often in locations where more time is required to develop a larger volunteer base.

[In other words in areas where the infrastructure on the community is not such that it can support public services being run by volunteers.  Areas with low levels of literacy, educational attainment, IT literacy, Information skills and high levels of unemployment (remember if you volunteer you are making yourself unavailable for work unless it is government sanctioned, and who wants service from someone NOT wanting to be there).]

Opening times are dependent upon and set by the number of volunteers involved in each library – and currently some have more volunteers than others. Either way, the fact that these libraries are being maintained with the opening times as they stand is testament to the significant contribution of local communities and the 330 volunteers currently playing their part in community managed libraries. In many cases opening hours are more conducive to the needs of the local communities.

[In 4 cases the hours have VASTLY increased, in 1 case they have remained static, and in 7 significantly decreased.  Please remember this comparison also excludes the libraries of Denaby and Carcroft which were closed at the beginning of December 2011 and any changes made to other council run libraries (for example the children's library hours have been cut, it no longer opens in a morning).  The hours rely solely on the numbers of volunteers and say nothing of the changes of times when open, whether these have been matched to the community need, the actual service offered (as opposed to physical access to a building) or support from the Council.]

There are some libraries which are opening for fewer hours than before, which are at a point where they are able to begin considering opening for longer, as they now have more volunteers available. These libraries opened for 359 hours per week in February, and 287.25 hours per week as of now, and are only likely, with good intent from the volunteers involved, to increase.

[Semantics and also factually incorrect.  Some implies just a few or not many, in fact over half are opening for much less time than before.  Using the Council's own data, from the physical answer provided to Doug, the original hours were 362 and the new hours are 289.25.  What else are they getting wrong?  This answer is imagined rhetoric with no sound basis in fact and emphasises the Councils intent to retain volunteers - the ideological basis of the destruction of the libraries for over 2 years now]

This is on top of the 558 hours per week for the Council-run Libraries and 55 hours per week achieved by our mobile services. Considered as a whole, the total opening hours for all libraries is 900.25 hours per week.

[Presumably this is also incorrect, based on the error identified above, but without the data we cannot accurately analyse this.  And again, no actual service description is given.  A library is not simply a building or a book-bus.  It is interesting to note that whomever is answering Doug's question is using it as an opportunity for spin and not just factual response.]

In addition to this, there is a full time service delivered to those of our residents who have difficulty visiting a library, and we must not forget the digital library service which is available 24/7 every day of the year.

[It is, but in a borough with over 30% who have no home access to the internet and therefore may have relied on their library to access digital opportunities, an online service is irrelevant.  What does the full-time service to residents mean?  Is this the homebound service? A very valuable service indeed and one which is vital to residents.  Alarm bells ring at the inclusion of this as part of an answer to a question which did not ask this.]

I note Mr. ——, that you live in Cantley, about half a mile from one of our Council-run libraries open 43.5 hours per week, recently increased by 5 hours per week, and which has the potential to be refurbished in the near future.

[2-tier service in action.  It seems one of the lucky 4 libraries to increase in opening hours, and situated in an affluent and high-attaining (on average) area is to have money spent on it that COULD have been used to properly staff and retain other, equally vital, libraries]

I also see you live not far away from Bessacarr, which has a community managed library, open 11 hours a week.

[A reduction from before, physically difficult to access, even find, and assumes those 11 hours being at convenient times.  See detailed table below.]

The Council’s library service will continue to work closely with all community managed libraries and their volunteers, with training and support provide on an on-going basis. I understand that other local authorities around the country are currently reviewing their library services, including opening times and the transfer to community management, and it would be good to reach a point where Doncaster can be considered a front-runner in the way these libraries have developed. I applaud the contribution of volunteers in these libraries. It would be good to now think that if only those people who have committed their energies to campaigning against these necessary and innovative changes could now focus their energy on supporting and contributing to the cause of volunteers, these libraries would be able to achieve even more as a result.

[So many things wrong with this arrogant and patronising paragraph it is hard to know where to begin.  The changes were NOT necessary and are NOT innovative, they are destructive and divisive.  Campaigners may have paying jobs, have family commitments, have caring responsibilities and/or simply refuse to take on what should be a paid post.  Volunteers, whether they like to believe it or not, have taken away peoples livelihoods.  Rhetorical evidence from the non-public face of volunteer groups tells us support from the council is piecemeal, paid staffs are vastly overworked and that questions regarding managerial, accounting, legal and other such library-run matters takes weeks, if ever, to be answered.]

In fact no part of the answer is substantiated with detail and it depends on possibilities and a hope to improve.  Clearly the Council has washed their hands of those libraries.  The facts regarding the physical access to libraries is tabled below.  The first table simply compares the weekly and overall figures and gives the 3 averages the hours have been sorted from lowest to highest.  Averaging is by no means an exact science but this table clearly shows that a more equitable (mean) distribution of hours was achieved when the libraries were Council-run, and that the responders joy at the increase in opening times by some have come at the huge expense of others.  The median proves that there are far more libraries now at the lower end of the accessibility range than previously there were.  Directly below is a direct comparison table using the information provided to Doug.  Red numbers indicate a reduction in hours between February and June, Green numbers an increase and Black no change.

Before and After being thrown to volunteers

*NB* headings in the above are in the wrong order, this will be amended today.  Thank you for pointing it out.

Comparison Chart for each of the 12 Libraries left to volunteers, not an option for the closed libraries of Denaby and Carcroft.

The data speaks for itself (another SDL campaigner is visiting libraries to discover the truths of the service, report as soon as possible).  Dan Jarvis, MP for Barnsley, has recently stated disgust (Jarvis accuses Government of Library incompetence) at the advantage Local Governments are taking for ripping apart their public services and placing the blame on Central Government; a situation all those with Ministerial or Government Departmental responsibility are endorsing through inaction.  Certainly the cuts are swingeing and much blame is rightly placed there.  But the priorities set are that of Local Authorities.  It is Doncaster’s Mayor who decided to force over 50% of cuts to the Library Service despite an overall budget cut of 9%.  It is the Mayor who has refused a very small increase that would have enabled the 12 libraries, plus Denaby and Carcroft, to at least have one paid staff member.  It is the Mayor who has proven so intractable and deaf to advice and truth that he is being taken to a Judicial Review.  A review we MUST win, or lose forever the majority of what was, only a short decade ago, a top mark 3 star Public Library Service.

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Rumours and the Truth

The letter reproduced below first appeared here, Doncaster Free Press Letters page on Thursday July 5th.

A waste of our taxpayers’ cash?

I READ with interest ‘Mayor faces judge over library cuts’ on page 2 of the Doncaster Free Press on Thursday June 28, 2012, which is listed for hearing at the Leeds Combined Court Centre on Tuesday, July 24.

Should not the un-named claimant have invoked the council complaints procedure or the ombudsman service, so avoiding Doncaster tax payers liability of the costs of this unreasonable and irrational judicial review proceedings?

Maurice Field, Kings Road, Wheatley

A response has been sent by Save Doncaster Libraries to the Free Press. In the hope that the response will be published it shall not be reproduced here, the Press Release from our Lawyers regarding this matter, reveals the truth of the situation and speaks for itself.

Public Interest Lawyers
Press Release – 22 June 2012
For immediate release

DONCASTER’S ELECTED MAYOR TO FACE LEGAL CHALLENGE OVER
REFUSAL TO IMPLEMENT DONCASTER COUNCIL’S DECISION ON LIBRARIES

His Honour Judge Gosnell has granted permission to a Doncaster resident to bring an application for judicial review challenging the elected Mayor of Doncaster, Peter Davies, for his refusal to implement a decision of Doncaster’s councillors to save the authority’s libraries. The case is to be heard in Leeds Combined Court Centre on 24 July 2012. The claim will answer an important question about the balance of power between elected Mayors and Councillors.

The resident is represented by the solicitors firm Public Interest Lawyers.

On 23 February 2012, the Mayor proposed his budget for the forthcoming year to Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council’s councillors sitting together as the ‘full Council.’ The head of the Labour group proposed an amendment to that budget which allocated funds to save two closed libraries and prevent 12 other libraries from being left to be run by volunteers. On 5 March 2012, the full Council voted (by 43 votes to 6 with 3 councillors abstaining) to include the proposed amendment in the budget. The law is clear that the setting of the budget is the responsibility of the full Council and not an elected Mayor.

The following day, the Mayor, an English Democrat, announced that he was not going to implement the budget as set by the Full Council and that the 14 libraries would continue, as he wished, to close or be transferred to community volunteers.

The law requires the Mayor to act “wholly in accordance” with the budget as set by the Council. The claim centres on whether the Mayor’s refusal to implement the budget can be said to be wholly in accordance with the budget. In granting permission, His Honour Judge Gosnell observed that the “claim is clearly arguable.”

Phil Shiner, of Public Interest Lawyers, said today:

“The Mayor’s refusal to implement the decision of a 2-thirds majority of all of Doncaster’s councillors is not only disastrous for the future of Doncaster’s libraries, it raises a fundamental question about the elected Mayor system. The claim will provide an important answer about the balance of power between an elected Mayor and all of an authority’s elected councillors.”

UPDATE 19TH JULY 2012.  The Doncaster Free Press have not published our reponse to Mr Fields’ letter, and have had 2 editions in which to do so.  Thus it is reproduced here:-

Dear Sir,
It is with resigned sadness that I read the letter from Mr Field last week asking why the unnamed claimant whose case has resulted in Save Doncaster Libraries being granted a Judicial Review over Mayor Davies systematic destruction of Doncaster Libraries, a claim which His Honour Judge Gosnell stated “is clearly arguable”, believes this to be a waste of taxpayers money.  Does this mean an electorate should never ensure governance appropriately and correctly, nor fight where the opposite occurs, to save ‘the taxpayers money’?  The Council would not be forced to defend the indefensible had Mayor Davies not closed his ears and mind two years ago.
The Judicial Review is neither unreasonable nor irrational.  It is the inevitable stage to which Save Doncaster Libraries have been driven after all our recommendations, suggestions, call-ins, petitions, protests, provision of alternate solutions (from persons within and without the Council) and evidence provision of the importance of a statutory library service to all those who live, work or are educated in our borough.  It is a natural progression resulting from the Mayor’s refusal to implement a budget amendment granting an extra amount of funding to the Library Service which would have enabled a paid member of council staff to work within ALL of the 14 endangered libraries, including those of Denaby and Carcroft which have been closed since the beginning of December 2011.  The case itself is representative, all residents would be beneficially affected should we win.
We have been warning of this inevitable legal step for months, and pointed to those successful judicial reviews from elsewhere in the Country (Gloucester and Somerset for example).  Save Doncaster Libraries is not happy to have been forced to go this far, indeed it is a step the Mayor could have avoided on many occasions but instead he has chosen to force through cuts of over 50% of the overall Library Service (it is not only local branches that have been attacked, for example back-office services, staffing levels, purchase levels and hours at other libraries have also been cut) despite the overall reduction in our Local Authority budget being 9%.  A Mayor is accountable to his electorate and also to the full council as representatives of the electorate and cannot simply ignore acceptable amendments to push through what can only now be viewed as an ideological attack on the access to information and reading materials for all, especially important in these austere times when for many it is the only possible access.
Save Doncaster Libraries is currently reviewing the impact of the changes made already to the closed and closing branch libraries and the overall picture is not a positive one.  Soon it will be too late to claw back from the destruction reaped by Mayor Davies and that will be his legacy.  Whilst there are actions we can take to prevent this, Save Doncaster Libraries, is proud to lead the way.  Information about the non-partisan campaign can be found at www.savedoncasterlibraries.wordpress.com.
Lynne _______, Save Doncaster Libraries campaigner,

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We have been warning this could happen…. LEGAL ACTION

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-south-yorkshire-18564096

http://news.uk.msn.com/mayor-faces-legal-action-on-budget-1

The campaign, with support of the Labour Group here in Doncaster, has been warning the Mayor and his Cabinet that their complete lack of consideration regarding the impact of closures and/or forcing management of libraries onto communities (the vast majority of whom are ill-equipped to cope) of Doncaster would open them up to Legal Action, and this has now come to pass.  This result of this hearing, 24th July 2012 at Leeds Combined Court Centre, will have a much wider impact than simply that of the situation regarding Doncaster’s Libraries, it will highlight the Mayoral System’s complete lack of accountability and underscore the undemocratic nature of the current ruling system here in Doncaster, one which we are now stuck with.

Mayor Davies, and your Cabinet, read through our past blogs and communications.  We tried to tell you.

Posted in About the Campaign, In The Media | 1 Comment

Mood Low…

Well…  65% of the 30.57% of Doncaster people who voted in the May 3rd elections have chosen to continue with the Mayoral System.  Whether this be a re-election of the current incumbent or another person it still means power in the hands of one person and as few as 2 people in a Cabinet.  Our arguments against the system and the disastrous actions of the Mayor in terms of Doncaster’s Libraries are well documented in previous posts…

Sadly it seems our fears are to be proven correct.  We have learnt that of the 25 original volunteers in Rossington Library, only 10 remain, a mere 3 months after re-opening as a ‘Community-run’ Library.  Reasons are unknown but perhaps the vounteers realised the magnitude and responsibilities required of them, and recognised this to be the remit of paid, trained, experienced and qualified Council employees.  We have not been informed of the situations within any other library and can only hope this is not replicated.  Not only are we left with a 2-tier system but our original suspicions, as we warned many, many months ago, are being realised with the stealthy closing and/or reducing of service in those Libraries the Cabinet and Mayor deemed unnecessary.  How they believe Doncaster can now fulfill its statutory requirement regarding provision of a comprehensive and efficient library service to those who live, work and are educated in the widely located boroughs of Doncaster is unfathomable.

We may be quiet, but we have not stopped. There is still time to donate and force the Mayor to reverse this travesty.  Please help us to match the Legal Aid funding granted to our campaign regarding a Judicial Review, which continues making its course.  Donations are welcomed in different ways, you could simply pass cash to a member of the campaign who will ensure it gets to our Treasurer John Sheppard. You could log in to your own paypal account and send funds directly to our campaign using the email address johnshep50@talktalk.net or you could contact John directly to request an address to where you could send a cheque (payable to ‘Save Our Libraries’), either by email or telephone on 07951382703.  Please, Please, PLEASE support us by sharing this information as widely as possible.

Posted in Update | 3 Comments

May 3rd – did you have your say?

Save Doncaster Libraries has been hearing worrying reports of people not receiving their polling cards, and even worse being turned away from polling stations when they arrive to exercise their right to vote, for the most tenuous of reasons.  Who knows how this will affect the results?  We urge anyone who has been treated so shabbily by the Council to contact us (email details are on the right) so we can compile a document to submit.  We cannot allow the Council to disable Doncaster Residents right to have their say in how they are run – and in such an important local election.

Save Doncaster Libraries campaigners have voted.  We have done our bit to try and rid the Council of its current dictatorial leadership model.  We cannot EVER enable one person to have such power as Mr Davies has, and risk the well-being of Doncaster resting on the whims if one such inept person.  Davies has systematically ignored petitions, protests, Overview and Scrutiny Committee call-ins, an amendment placed that would have minimised the damage… and has now forced campaigners along the route of a judicial review.  Has he been made aware, by his equally incompetent Cabinet, of the severe loss in the High Court of Surrey County Councils attempt to destroy their library service in a very similar manner (also reported by BBC News - ‘Surrey Library Volunteer decision ruled unlawful by High Court’)?  Is he so blithely unempathetic and uncaring that in these times of severe hardship and the leading of Doncaster Council employees into poverty through cuts to terms and conditions or redundancy (they could always volunteer to work their old roles, this seems to be the Mayoral and Cabinet thinking, how nice for someone on a Mayoral wage cut only so he could keep his teaching pension that was awarded before the current cuts to that provision are enforced!), that he is willing to spend more Council money in Court defending the indefensible?  It seems he is.

We can only hope that the Voters of Doncaster (those who were able) have shown their contempt for the man and the leadership model at yesterday’s polls.

Posted in About the Campaign, Closures, Get Involved, In The Media, Support | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

Worrying Bias in Local Media

If one was to only read Doncaster’s local paper ‘The Free Press’, one would believe the population of Doncaster is all for the destruction of the Library Service.  Indeed it seems every week there are grinning volunteers gleefully extolling the new virtues of their ‘just opened’ community library, detailing ‘new initiatives’ and ‘exciting opportunities’ whilst the newly departed and now unemployed staff must look on with a sadness at the wilful ignorance of the myriad efforts they made when in post, and how much more they would have done had they not been handcuffed by a Council that looked in the opposite direction as they took away staff, resources, training and support.  Congratulations Mayor Davies you have achieved the 2-tier service and denigration of communities you so desired.

Destruction seen.

The volunteer groups are still all asking for supporters.  To read the forementioned local paper one would believe all Libraries have these groups set up.  This is not true, I have learned that my local branch, Wheatley, is to shut on Saturday.  Whether it will re-open who knows.  The Council website is, as usual, woefully out of date but it may be worth a look at its Find your Local Library pages. 

We can only hope the valiant volunteers manage to keep the buildings open as long as it takes for the Council to realise the devastating destruction forced through by the Mayor and his Cabinet, and reverse the decision.  There will always be a place for volunteers and ‘Friends of’ groups in a Library service.  Libraries have always been community resources.  But they should not be left to the communities to manage, fund, resource, account for and be legally responsible for.  Save Doncaster Libraries does not condemn the volunteer groups, we are sad that they are forced into being by an uncaring and dismissive Doncaster Leadership.

If the Mayor can ignore petitions, protests, advice, professional guidance, reports, plans, legal decisions from like services elsewhere and the wishes of the population, and railroad through plans in such a way, to the library service, what else is he willing to do?  Save Doncaster Libraries is fighting not only to save this vital service, but to ensure the Mayor obeys statutory obligations, legal consultation requirements and listens to the people.  To this end we are committing to a Judicial Review process, but, WE NEED YOUR HELP!  We must match legal aid funding.  Please give anything you can.  Donations are welcomed in different ways, you could simply pass cash to a member of the campaign who will ensure it gets to our Treasurer John Sheppard. You could log in to your own paypal account and send funds directly to our campaign using the email address johnshep50@talktalk.net or you could contact John directly to request an address to where you could send a cheque (payable to ‘Save Our Libraries’), either by email or telephone on 07951382703.

And remember, at the local elections on May 3rd YOU can tell the Mayor and his Cabinet exactly what you think of him, by voting out this dictatorial and undemocratic system of governance.

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Mayor shows his true colours

If there was any lingering doubt regarding the Mayor’s contempt for Doncaster’s Public Library Service and his determination to destroy it, these articles surely rid that once and for all. 

Mayor defends decision to veto £380,000 libraries investment

Mayor of Doncaster refuses to reopen libraries

Mr Davies clearly has no understanding of the concept of volunteer – this is a role that supports and enhances a service, not one that should take on all the responsibilities and pressures that belong to a paid service.  £380,000 would have ensured a paid member of staff in situ in ALL 14 threatened branches, supporting the volunteers and providing a professional service to users.  The paid member of staff would be able to go the extra mile that volunteers, with the best will, would be unable to do so, and would be an invaluable link to the library service as a whole.  This small amount of money would have enabled the communities of Denaby and Carcroft to have back their libraries, and for the other 12 threatened libraries to remain open and viable.  As it stands Doncaster will lose far more than it gains and the Mayor will simply gloat that those communities, who are not of an infrastructure to support volunteer-maintained libraries, just did not want them.

Save Doncaster Libraries continues to fight on.  For 2 years now we have attempted to make the man see sense.  We are now having to take legal action.  Help us to match the Legal Aid funding granted to our campaign regarding a Judicial Review, which continues making its course.  Donations are welcomed in different ways, you could simply pass cash to a member of the campaign who will ensure it gets to our Treasurer John Sheppard. You could log in to your own paypal account and send funds directly to our campaign using the email address johnshep50@talktalk.net or you could contact John directly to request an address to where you could send a cheque (payable to ‘Save Our Libraries’), either by email or telephone on 07951382703.

 

Posted in About the Campaign, Closures, Get Involved, In The Media | Tagged , , | 6 Comments

Mayor refuses to save Denaby and Carcroft Libraries.

The news on BBC Radio Sheffield this morning has revealed that Mayor Davies has refused the proposed amendment to his budget which would fund the re-opening of Denaby and Carcroft libraries, and would also fund a paid member of staff in both those libraries and the remaining 12 being thrown to vounteers to run.  The news. and short soundbite from the Mayor. was heard by this campaigner at just after 8am during Toby Foster’s breakfast show.  During a short statement Mr Davies revealed that he believed he was the one with the power to set the budget, not the Councillors, and he did not want to amend the budget to allow for this change.  The amount in question was minimal in the extreme and indeed was reported as only one part of a 6-part amendment totalling £610,000. In short, the Mayor has revealed he is unable to maintain any flexibility whatsoever in his plans, is deaf to the pleas, protests and reasoned arguments of protestors, ignorant to costed and forward-thinking plans of others and fixated only on his original scheme to destroy Doncaster’s Libraries.  Doncaster Councillors have betrayed the service by approving this budget.  Make no mistake, this is an ideological attack on the Library service of Doncaster, one in a borough of high levels of unemployment, high adult illiteracy, over 23% of 16-25 year-olds being NEETs and nearly 40% having no independent online information access themselves.

If you wish to ask the Mayor yourself about this travesty, he is allowing members of the public 20 minutes prior to Cabinet meetings during which to do so.  Doug Wright, of SDL, has taken advantage of this opportunity, and was surprised to be the only member of the public to do so.  Do not be shy, the Mayor states

” “I am always happy to answer questions from any member of the public and am committed to being open and honest with people.

“Whenever I’m out and about I get stopped and asked questions so I thought it would be good to offer people a regular slot to come and talk to me.”

And if you remain unhappy, we can only recommend you let the Mayor and his Cabinet know so in the Mayoral Referendum poll of May 3rd.  To have your say on May 3rd, you must make sure you are registered to vote. For further information on the Referendum or voting, please call Doncaster Council’s Elections team on 01302 734649 or email elections@doncaster.gov.uk.  To check you are on the Electoral Register, you can (ironically) go to Central Library, Waterdale, Doncaster or to the Electoral Services Unit also in Waterdale, Doncaster. Alternatively you can call the Electoral Services Unit direct on telephone number (01302) 734658/734685 or email the elections people on the forementioned address. 

DON’T LET THIS HAPPEN!!!!  HELP US FIGHT THE PROPOSALS ALL THE WAY!!!  Help us to match the Legal Aid funding granted to our campaign regarding a Judicial Review, which continues making its course.  Donations are welcomed in different ways, you could simply pass cash to a member of the campaign who will ensure it gets to our Treasurer John Sheppard. You could log in to your own paypal account and send funds directly to our campaign using the email address johnshep50@talktalk.net or you could contact John directly to request an address to where you could send a cheque (payable to ‘Save Our Libraries’), either by email or telephone on 07951382703.

Posted in About the Campaign, Closures, Get Involved, In The Media | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

We need your money!!! And further information regarding DMBCs true efforts.

As we have said previously, we are making all manner of effort to match the Legal Aid funding granted to our campaign regarding a Judicial Review, which continues making its course.  Donations are welcomed in different ways, you could simply pass cash to a member of the campaign who will ensure it gets to our Treasurer John Sheppard. You could log in to your own paypal account and send funds directly to our campaign using the email address johnshep50@talktalk.net or you could contact John directly to request an address to where you could send a cheque (payable to ‘Save Our Libraries’), either by email or telephone on 07951382703.

Information has been passed to us, regarding the efforts of one Parish Council in Doncaster who are attempting to ensure their local library does not close, despite the best efforts of the Council to make this so.

Edenthorpe Parish Council attempting to staff their library with volunteers.

Whilst taking issue that members of public may have no interest in the library (we have talked before regarding marketing, making relevant, historic insufficient funding etc etc) the points of interest are the issues surrounding a premises which is rented, not owned (a problem Sprotborough Council have also encountered) – premises for a library are not a guarantee therefore how can a voluntary group take over what is not available? Edenthorpe are also realistic in their estimation regarding number of volunteers needed.  As they state Bawtry have over 70, this is close to sufficient it seems, Edenthorpe has thus far a generous estimate of one quarter of this, another threatened branch (Wheatley) has had merely 5 people come forward.  No doubt the Mayor will see this as proof of a community not wanting its library, in fact it is proof of what we at SDL have been saying all along – the majority of communities within Doncaster do not have the infrastructure to enable a library staffed by volunteers.  We regret that Edenthorpe Parish Council has had to resort to such measures and despair at its acceptance that such change as that being foisted upon its library is a necessity, but SDL wholeheartedly sympathises with their plight and the situation into which they, and 13 other branches have been forced.

Finally – a reminder of why we keep this fight going.

This is why we fight for libraries, for our future. This is the genuinely independent opinion of one of Doncasters younger library users.

Please help us and donate anything you are able to.  Thank you.

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We NEED your help – Legal Aid to match

Some of the SDL campaigners start our fundraising efforts

Efforts to match the Legal Aid funding awarded to our brave resident heading our fight for justice through the Courts, have begun. A hardy group of campaigners stood outside Doncasters’ fantastic Markets to inform and enable people to drop cash in buckets.  We are also commencing targeted requesting, and facebook/twitter campaigning. We need to raise a significant amount in a very short time.

Donations are welcomed in different ways, you could simply pass cash to a member of the campaign who will ensure it gets to our Treasurer John Sheppard. You could log in to your own paypal account and send funds directly to our campaign using the email address johnshep50@talktalk.net or you could contact John directly to request an address to where you could send a cheque (payable to ‘Save Our Libraries’), either by email or telephone on 07951382703.

Please help.  We would hate this effort, (to ensure the Mayor and his Cabinet do right by the libraries, and are reminded of their statutory duties regarding ALL public services when wishing to make changes), to fail.

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