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.
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 The Council website is, as usual, woefully out of date but it may be worth a look at its Find your Local Library pages.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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.