Rate Your Library

Doncaster council has ranked its libraries on the nifty little spreadsheet available to download from the 12th January Cabinet Agenda here. You can download the spreadsheet directly by clicking here (opens as .xls).

We’re getting some really useful input from people who live all over Doncaster, giving us details about how the points-based system that the council has used is totally inaccurate. It all serves to demonstrate that the council have failed to assess the needs of communities and the impact it will have on communities, local businesses and schools, for example.

More information like this will help us put together a case to demonstrate how the council has completely failed to assess the needs of communities and aspects such as transport links and the impact closures will have on communities, local businesses and schools, for example.

Below are excerpts from an email from Chris, who highlights important inaccuracies in the council’s method:

Proximity to other libraries or service points – 2 points allocated (under 2 miles away)  I feel that this should be 4 points as if Denaby library closes, the nearest library will be Mexborough which is about 3.5 miles away.

Other suitable buildings nearby that could be used as a partner delivery point – 1 point allocated – this needs clarifying – what do they mean by a partner delivery point? In Conisbrough there is a small St Leger Homes/DMBC cash office in the village but this would not have room to accomodate any library service.

In the heart of the community, central to shops and services, main residential, schools and good transport? – 3 points allocated which is ‘fair’.  Conisbrough library is in the heart of the village centre where all the main shops are, the schools are close by and there is a bus stop across the road with a regular service to Doncaster/Rotherham/Sheffield. I feel this should have been rated as 5 points – ‘excellent’ – this is a definite error in points allocation.

What has consultation with the communities told us 3 points allocated ‘Facilities require improvement’.  As you have mentioned in another article, Conisbrough was in the top 4 libraries for surveys completed, that surely should tell them that the library ‘must remain open’ and ‘is popular and well used’ which should equate to 4 or 5 points.  It would be interesting to see the breakdown of the surveys received as I cannot see that the majority of Conisbrough residents would say that the facilities require improvement.

Is there a need for more of less facilities in the area 2 points allocated ‘less, library could be delivered at another’  Where??!!  I would say we have the ‘right level of facilities’ and mark us at 3 points.

Could the community provide a service elsewhere or a mobile library 2 points allocated ‘Yes, a mobile library would cover the level of use’  What about internet usage, fax and photocopying facilities, meeting rooms etc – where would the people of Conisbrough be able to go for these facilities?  We should be marked as 4 points ‘No, level of use could cause problems’.

Can a modern library service be delivered from the building with customer services without excessive investment 3 points allocated ‘Yes, but would require investment £10k-£20k’  Our library is already a Customer Service Centre so nothing would need to be done there, maybe a bit of decoration/furniture, but certainly not the level of investment they are talking about.  The library has a large meeting room for kids activities, playgroups, adult learning sessions etc and a smaller room for hire.

Toilet Facilities 4 points allocated ‘DDA facility and 1 other’.  This is another definite error!  The toilets in the library are the public toilets for the village and have a ladies, gents, disabled and baby changing facilities – should be rated as 5 points ‘excellent inc male, female, disabled & baby changing’.

Car Parking 5 points allocated – this is correct!

Accessibility 3 points allocated ‘requires some investment £3-5k’  The library has a ramp at the front, disabled access at the back to the meeting room, it has a lift.  What else would it need to require an investment of £3-5k?  Would say it should be ‘minor investment required, under £3k – 4 pts.

Improved Services for Children & Young People 2 points allocated ‘poor take up by children & young people’.  I feel that this is incorrect.  There is a youth club that takes place every week in the meeting room ( this is the only youth club in the village), childrens activities during the school holidays and the summer reading game are always well supported.  There is a large childrens library and a large meeting room for any childrens activities. I feel this should be rated as either 3 or 4 points.

Improved education and skills across the borough 5 points allocated – this is correct!  We have all the facilities they require for learning and improving skills.

Need for Opportunity Centre 5 points allocated ‘Yes’.  Why was the Opportunity Centre that has been set up in Denaby in a shop where rent will be being paid, not put in Conisbrough library which has plenty of space to include this?

Could you do the same for your local library? Have a look at the spreadsheet and send your thoughts to savedoncasterlibraries@gmail.com.

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