Well, here at SDL Towers we did not think we would be posting here again. The Council won the appeal and there seemed no more to be done. Indeed there may not be. However it seems the Council have not finished with the already decimated service.
Having a look around the council website as SDL member Lynne has been asked to go on Radio Sheffield tomorrow morning to speak about our experiences. A few questions arose which we are hoping some good souls may answer.
1. Barnby Dun – Lynne thought this whole building had been closed and the schools service, such as is left, had been moved to Central/North Bridge, but the council website says it is open and the schools library items are still there. Is this true? [Update – SLS *is* still at Barnby Dun, this is a relief]
2. Can any users of the community libraries make comment on the difference in service they receive compared to previously? Positive and Negative please, this should be balanced and not all volunteers or community libraries will be negative. However a cursory glance at just opening hours shows a vast difference between those properly staffed and those reliant on the goodwill of volunteers.
3. Can anyone add weight or put to bed any rumours (full anonymity provided) regarding any further cuts or moving to community management of the 11 libraries (excluding central) remaining under council staff control? For example we have heard Conisbrough Library is being considered for being a community (a.k.a. volunteer) run facility.
4. We can find no consultation or plans on the council website and know from bitter experience it is likely to be buried, or provided only to those who live in the affected areas, not those who work in or education in, those areas as the 1964 Act requires. There was also no clear guidance regarding provision in alternate formats. Is there some anywhere for this current round? If indeed the rumours become more solid.
5. The last 4 Cabinet (Mayor Ros Jones and her Cabinet) Committee meetings show no explicit mention of libraries but, in the medium term financial planning document of 6th November they make positive mention of the community libraries providing savings and say further savings in community and leisure services could be proposed “The Council could encourage community management of libraries in more areas, further modernise the service and bring together the management.” Is anyone else worried by this? Full document is available here Medium Term Financial Plan.
There are no Library related, or finance related, agenda items for future Cabinet meetings.
6. There are no mentions of libraries in the current Forward Plan of the council. Current Forward Plan.
Any information that anyone could provide to us will be gratefully received, thank you.