Ms Caroline Flint is supportive of the Save Doncaster Libraries campaign. Below is a word for word Copy of a letter sent to Save Doncaster Libraries campaigner Ms Lauren Smith, in response to her email requesting support from local MP the Rt Hon Caroline Flint to halt the decimation of Doncaster’s Library Service. The letter was dated 8th July 2010.
Dear Ms Smith
Re: Library Closures in Doncaster
Several constituents have previously contacted me to raise their concerns about this matter. I have also lobbied Doncaster Council to reconsider these proposals, especially with reference to Warmsworth Library which is in my constituency. I have enclosed the most recent reply that I have received from the DMBC for your information.
In addition to this, I am writing to let you know that I have written to the Mayor on your behalf and will write again when I have a reply.
Below is a word-for-word copy of the reply to which Ms Flint refers, from DMBC. It is dated 13th April 2010 and is from Jane Miller, Director – Neighbourhoods & Communities.
Dear Ms Flint
Re: Warmsworth Library
Further to your letter dated 30th March 2010, the proposed closure of Warmsworth and two further libraries were included in Doncaster Council’s budget setting process and approved by the full council.
However, the reasons behind the proposal are not purely financial and will not be implemented without completing a full consultation process and ensuring alternative methods of service provision are provided. The following details some of the contributing factors.
Warmsworth Library is situated on a busy road junction withy very limited parking facilities and is close to two other libraries. Edlington has a new impressive library only 1.1 miles away and Balby Library is 1.9 miles in the other direction. They are also much bigger facilities and are not limited with regard to the services and initiatives they can provide as Warmsworth is due to it’s [sic] size for heath [sic] and safety reasons.
Out of 26 libraries in Doncaster (well above the average per 1000 population – the average is 21), the three libraries have the lowest volume of customers. Some of this is due to shorter opening hours, but the fact is that we are trying to stretch our resources to deliver far more than any other authority.
Most of the Library accommodation across the borough needs improving. The vision for the service is to use fewer but better quality buildings and supplement this using outreach and mobile services. This would definitely be on offer if the library closed with a mobile service available for the hours required. There is also a home library service for those that are housebound or have mobility problems and a story bus for children which would contribute to ensuring the needs of the community are catered for.
Looking to the future, the modernisation review of public libraries has now been issued by the DCMS and is featuring heavily in the plans to progress and improve Doncaster’s out-dated service. The clear message from the government is that they will not be saying no to closing libraries but asking what our strategy is moving forward and how we will meet the needs of our communities.
To assist us in this work, a full review of Doncaster’s library service has been commissioned and is currently in progress, this is being conducted by a qualified professional with many years of experience in running a successful library service. The result will be a proposed improvement plan with aspirations to provide a modern service that accurately reflects the needs of local communities. Doncaster’s current performance against N19 makes it clear that the current service does not achieve this and therefore major change is required such as those currently proposed. Two of the local councillors from Warmsworth attended a meeting last week so they could feed into the outcome.
I hope this demonstrates that Doncaster council takes its responsibility of providing a current and comprehensive library service seriously and will ensure the residents of Warmsworth are not left without a service.
I hope this information is helpful
Save Doncaster Libraries will be responding to the letter with an explanation as to the problems with the council’s approach to “providing a current and comprehensive library service”. We have serious doubts about the intent and planning of DMBC. If you have input to support our response, be you library user, librarian, librarianship student or libraries expert, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or comment below.