Doncaster library cuts and closures feature in today’s Independent on Sunday, and some of the comments below. Most interesting is this one from ‘Arbeitsschu’, which makes some excellent points about concerns over the use of volunteers and calls for opposition to the closures from the three Doncaster MPs, Ed Miliband, Rosie Winterton and Caroline Flint:
Has anyone asked Milliband what he thinks about the library closures in his own constituency, and those of Winterton and Flint? Or is he content that Doncaster Council have seen fit to close most of the libraries in the south of the borough, saving only the ones they can’t afford to pay off Parish Councils for? Would he care to explain how he thinks that a decent service can be maintained when many of the libraries remaining open are within easy travel distance of Central Library, in the town centre, but most of the outlying libraries are closing? Does he have an opinion that Doncaster Council have JUST installed (and trained all staff to use) a brand new computer/till system, even in Libraries earmarked to close? Does he care to ask Cameron and IDS how people claiming all the new benefits almost exclusively online will be able to do so when they have removed free computer access to half of the poor people in the borough? Is Ed going to be seen helping his disabled constituents travel to and from Central Library from the outlying villages using the public transport they will now have to pay for? Finally, does ANYONE grasp that volunteers are not FREE, and that Librarians are skilled workers? Are we to trust Indentured Volunteers fresh from the Jobcentre and A4E to have access to the library records of so many citizens? Or is someone going to PAY for CRB checks for all of these people. And will that happen before or after they are trained, apparently for free, in how to order books and the multitude of other tasks librarians perform?
We know that many constituents of the three MPs have written to them to express deep concern over the closures and reductions to the library service. There have been varying levels of support in the MPs’ responses. Save Doncaster Libraries urges them to work together to challenge DMBC’s wreckless and thoughtless behaviour – this is not just about closures, but about disproportionate cuts to a whole service that will have a knock-on effect to everyone in Doncaster.