It’s clear that Doncaster Libraries and Information Service have not adequately consulted with the public about the changes being made to Doncaster’s libraries and are not paying attention to what its citizens want and need. When we’ve been in the town centre with the petition many people have told us about the negative impact the closures will have on them, and we have been receiving emails and comments on the site.
In an email to Save Doncaster Libraries, Andrew Willis said:
I am concerned about all library closures, but particularly Cantley. My parents are getting on a bit – my father especially – and Cantley library is so important to them – Central library in Waterdale is a bus/car ride away, and I understand that Bessacarr library has been earmarked for closure for some time – Armthorpe library would then be our nearest ‘branch’ library, and is no closer to us than central. If Cantley library (and other branch libraries) are to close then this will have a big impact on many people, particularly older/less mobile individuals.
On our contact page, Carry said:
“I really hope this doesn’t happen as me and my daughter use Conisbrough Library, nearly every week, and if it closes we will not access another. It will be upsetting as Conisbrough is also near the local secondary school as is good reference for them pupils. It not only is going to ruin a community its also going to have an impact on education.”
All the feedback we’ve received from people has been in opposition to the proposed closures, which completely contradicts the council’s claims that:
“Respondents [to the questionnaire] wanted fewer, higher quality libraries in better locations, kept in better condition and with better parking.”
There are many problems with this claim:
- The consultation questionnaire only reached 1% of the population of Doncaster. This means that the questionnaire is not representative and not a valid consultation.
- Question 11 asks: “We are considering options to reduce the cost of the services. How do you feel about the following options?” The choices, and responses to them, were:
|Introduction of self service points||867||775|
|Fewer but higher standard libraries||945||887|
|Home Delivery Service||1109||983|
|Replace some static libraries with mobile serivces||1124||1548|
|Co-location of libraries with other public services||1082||1334|
|The use of volunteers to help run the service||885||1265|
- The question does not give an option for improving the existing libraries, or other ideas that would invest in and improve the service.
- Most importantly: Out of the 2726 people who responded to the questionnaire, only 1832 answered that they agreed or disagreed with the idea of fewer libraries. 887 people disagreed. This means that, of the small number of people asked (1% of the population of Doncaster), an even smaller number answered (0.6% of the population of Doncaster), and of that small number, almost half the respondents (48%) disagreed with the idea of closing libraries. Therefore, to suggest that respondents wanted fewer libraries is misleading, inaccurate and untrue.
If you’d like to see the full set of responses to the questionnaire, you can download it from this Freedom of Information Request page.