In the Media

List of articles/reports related to Doncaster libraries. Work in progress. Lots of these sources are identified using the news databases Nexis and NewsUK, which are freely available if you are a member of a public library (unfortunately not Doncaster libraries…) Others are identified through search alerts – if you’re lucky enough to have a library with a librarian or trained staff in it where you are, they can show you how to use these resources.

26th December 2011

  • Yorkshire Post: Doubts over digital library service in cost-cutting townLauren Smith, a spokesman for Save Doncaster’s Libraries, which led action to oppose the council’s library policy, said the campaign welcomed the introduction of an electronic service.

    But she added: “This should not be seen in any way as replacing services which could be lost if branch libraries close.

    “Obviously we see the introduction of electronic books as a hugely positive move, because Doncaster is miles behind other councils in this area.

    “But it will not help those people who do not have access to the internet and do not have the income to have access to the internet or e-book readers.

    “The electronic service should run alongside the traditional services offered by branch libraries which are valued by the elderly and families with young children, who need access to books at their local library.

    “The electronic service will not focus on their needs, but we know that Doncaster Council so far has paid very little attention to the what the community wants, and we are concerned that without rethinking its current policy this could further alienate people who have so far had their needs ignored.”

    24th November 2011

    18th November 2011

    3rd November 2011

    2nd November 2011

    1st November 2011

    13th October 2011

    A spokesman for the Save Doncaster Libraries campaign group said Doncaster Council had “failed the people of Doncaster in their shambolic approach to changes to the library service.”

    They added: “The Mayor has flatly refused to listen to solutions offered by the Labour group and has failed to investigate alternative methods of keeping libraries open. Instead, he has jumped at the massively problematic volunteer method.

    “These decisions are a disgrace to our town, undermine any supposed mayoral priorities to improve standards of education and living, and yet again make a mockery of Doncaster and its undemocratic, dysfunctional council.”

    Mr Davies announced the decision at a packed cabinet meeting in the Mansion House yesterday where dozens of campaigners from the Save Doncaster Libraries turned up.

    The mayor was slammed for not allowing protestors to speak at the meeting with several campaigners being asked to leave amidst shouts of “shame on you” and “this is not democracy”.

    In Doncaster, where the council agreed on Wednesday to close two libraries and hand 12 branches to volunteers, Mayor Peter Davies was asked on BBC Radio whether volunteers would need training and support.

    “Ah, come on,” he replied. “What’s the training required to hand a book out, stamp it and take it back in the following week?”

    ‘Profound contempt’

    In response, librarian and campaigner Lauren Smith posted a list of 94 tasks that librarians may have to do, from teaching computer literacy to helping people with research, adhering to data protection guidelines, enforcing copyright rules and dealing with abusive visitors.

    “Mayor Davies’ profound contempt for the entire library profession is appalling,” she wrote. “It takes a lot of on-the-job training, and often professional qualification, to provide a good quality library service.”

    12th October 2011

    Jill Johnson, a former head of library services in the town, said: “I think that in the long term these different kind of libraries will fail.”

    8th October 2011

    6th October 2011

    5th October 2011

    4th October 2011

    “Twelve libraries in Doncaster could be run by community groups if plans are approved by Doncaster Council.

    The council carried out a public consultation earlier this year gathering feedback from more than 7,000 people.

    Doncaster Council have drawn a series of recommendations which will be proposed to the cabinet next Wednesday.”

    22nd September 2011

    “It seems examples of anti-social behaviour should be reported to Cynthia Ransome.

    Perhaps the first one I would refer to is the vote in cabinet to close Sprotbrough Library (in her ward) that she made earlier this year and is an act of vandalism (my words!); that library having been created in 1973 by the previous West Riding County Council using OUR money as is the stock of books that she and our elected mayor seem to think are of no value.

    David Marriott, Saxton Ave, Bessacarr.”

    19th August 2011

    “Doncaster Council has been criticised for promoting a reading scheme for children while planning to shut more than half the town’s libraries.

    Ms Smith, from Save Doncaster Libraries, said: “We find it quite ironic that during the summer reading challenge the libraries are promoting the brilliant challenge but then next year there’s going to be half the number of libraries and fewer books for kids to read, fewer services and kids are not going to have the access to that reading challenge.

    “The council has had really flawed logic when it comes to cutting library services.””

    22nd July 2011

    “Great North Road ward councillor Kevin Rodgers said: “In view of the High Court’s decision to grant a judicial review the council should put on hold any transfer of library buildings, stock or services.

    “In these austere times Doncaster Council can ill afford a judicial review either financially or in the interests of its reputation.””

    27th June 2011

    “Mr Miliband believes libraries “are at the heart of Doncaster’s communities” and has previously spoken out in support of the Save Doncaster Libraries campaign.

    Now he will meet SDL campaigners in person to hear their concerns.

    He said: “I’m very happy to add my support to keep the libraries open. They are an essential part of the community here in Doncaster and play a vital role in ensuring access to reading and learning.””

    28th May, 2011

    “Despite a campaign mounted by a dedicated band of library users, supported by town councillors, the much-used library on Doncaster Road was confirmed on the local authority’s closure list.”

    21st March 2011

    11th March 2011

    3rd March 2011

    Ed Miliband: “Cuts to our libraries are hugely concerning. I believe libraries are an essential part of our lives, and of our country’s social fabric.

    “They are places where community is built, where local families get to know each other and form lasting friendships.

    “The principle of free access to information – and to books – for everyone, regardless of their economic circumstances, is the mark of a good society.”

    25th February 2011

    “THREE Tory Doncaster Council cabinet members could face disciplinary action for refusing to support the party line on library closures.

    Deputy mayor Coun Patricia Schofield, cabinet member for neighbourhoods Coun Cynthia Ransome, and cabinet member for business Coun Jonathan Wood, backed Mayor Peter Davies at a meeting earlier this month which agreed to move forward a review of the libraries service.”

    24th February 2011

    “…a community that so visibly gives up on learning makes a profound statement to its future generations about a lack of hope and belief in them. Once libraries are gone, they won’t be coming back and countless children will miss out on the thrill of that first visit to the library and the realisation that a world of knowledge can be theirs.”

    But the Save Doncaster Libraries team is continuing to demonstrate its opposition to the proposed closures even though DMBC has deferred its final decision.

    Leader of the Save Doncaster Libraries group of volunteers Lauren Smith said: “Libraries are an essential service and we have a statutory right to them and just because the mayor and his officers do not seem to appreciate this it does not mean that they are not a vitally important part of our society.

    “Save Doncaster Libraries are here to spread the word about how brilliant libraries are which DMBC has failed to do for so long. That is why it vital for us to continue to challenge DMBC’s decision and oppose the cuts.”

    22nd February 2011

    The Flash mob action started at midday and involved around 70 people standing outside at Clock Corner reading their favourite books. Both adults and children were taking part, with books ranging from Esther Rantzen novels to the children’s bestseller The Gruffalo.

    John Sheppard, treasurer of Save Doncaster Libraries, was among the protesters. He said: “I think the fact that people were prepared to protest in the poor weather we had on Saturday shows the strength of feeling over library closures. The protests have to go on. We only have a deferral for up to a year. We will have another meeting to decide the next step.”

    21st February 2011

    20th February 2011

    19th February 2011

    18th February 2011

    17th February 2011

    15th February 2011

    • The Sun: New uniforms binned in their packages, Madrid trips to study rubbish collection… how the councils making cuts waste our cash; As cuts bite, Sun probe into ludicrous spending. pp. 22 – 23


    South Yorkshire council spent £44,000 on investigation into why mayor failed to declare membership of a pressure group. Pressure group was later brought in to advise council on policy. Announced closure of three public libraries.” (Not accurate – 14 libraries to close)

    14th February 2011

    • The Western Mail: Tory-Lib Dem coalition will wreak havoc on UK society – Miliband; Government is ‘damaging the fabric of society’. p.4

    “I really worry about the impact it’s going to have on our society. In my own area of Doncaster where many libraries are threatened – I was thinking about this the other day – it’s a hard thing to reverse, the closure of a library, because the building is sold off and used for some other purpose.

    “So we’ve got to do as much as we can to stop them – either to stop them going five years or, if we can’t do that, stop as many of the pernicious changes as we can.”

    13th February 2011

    • Sunday Express:Rogue councils must end waste. p.36

    In Ed Miliband’s backyard, Doncaster is axing three libraries and threatening compulsory redundancies. This basket-case council recently shelled out £21million on a new performing arts centre and £600,000 on touch-screen information kiosks which remained largely untouched. It is unlikely that back office efficiencies will entirely spare the frontline but to not even attempt to cut the waste is morally reprehensible.”

    “Mr Cameron should visit the local libraries in my constituency. These are not some monolithic institutions of crude Conservative caricature. They have classes for new mums and babies, after-school activities for young people, clubs for the elderly. They are owned by government but they nurture community. And now many of them are threatened with closure.”

    11th February 2011

    “Relying on local taxation instead of big government grants sounds warm and green, like transition towns and locally sourced vegetables in Waitrose. Fine in Dorset, dreadful in Doncaster.”

    10th February 2011

    “I have just heard that, following the successful opposition from other libraries to their proposed closure, Balby has now been put on the list.

    As Doncaster’s first branch library, Balby is an important partner to the Central Library, and has been meeting the needs of the wider Doncaster community for many years. It is scandalous that Balby should even be considered for closure, given its proven track record of success, and it can only be imagined that the council has given in to pressure elsewhere and is looking to sacrifice Balby Library in the hopes that the local population will keep quiet about it.

    As a disabled 85-year-old pensioner, like many others, I use this library to the full, as I cannot go elsewhere. I am dismayed to think that the local library service could be withdrawn without any form of public consultation.

    As a ratepayer, I ask Doncaster Council: why has this change in strategy not been made public and why has Balby now been included on the list, where other less successful branches have been reprieved?”

    Lilian Jones, Balby

    “JUST one question. If the mayor liked books as much as horse racing would all these libraries be shutting?

    We all know the answer to that question. The staff at Owston Park Primary School are fuming with this decision. Carcroft and Skellow is losing its library and its youth club. What else can they take off the young people? Andrew Carnegie, the rich American philanthropist, donated most of his money to open libraries for the poor people, but now Doncaster Council and the Government are taking these libraries off us.

    Let’s get our priorities right, Mayor Davies: spend money on chopping trees down, but ignore the libraries? Perhaps one grandstand at the racecourse could pay for some libraries.

    Simon Fox (deputy head), Sue Attenborough, Dawn Evand, Ann Christian,

    Owston Park Primary School.”

    “The grim future for libraries is illustrated by Doncaster council, which has announced 14 out of its 26 libraries will have their funding removed. Such a choice becomes the only choice if there is a serious lack of imagination on the part of government as to how to get some economic growth going again, growth that could provide the resources for these invaluable institutions.”

    Image from The Star

    8th February 2011

    7th February 2011

    • The Guardian (London) Opening soon – one super-library. Closing sooner – 481 others: Amid growing protests against cuts to local book-lending services, a showpiece palace of books takes shape in the heart of England: Win some, lose some
    • Yorkshire Post: Library supporters raise voices in anger at closure ‘madness’

    “Celebrities were among those backing campaigners including soprano Lesley Garrett, who was at Bawtry library, near Doncaster, where she told local people libraries helped her get involved with classical music.”

    6th February 2011

    • The Sunday Times: Not bad for a council house; Fancy living in the town hall or old swimming baths? Hard-up local authorities are flogging property. p.4
    • The Sunday Telegraph: Pullman leads library protest

    5th February 2011

    Lesley Garrett – “The idea that everyone in this country can’t have ready access to free literature is completely abhorrent. Libraries are the cornerstone of our society.”

    4th February 2011

    “Yesterday a council spokesman said the authority would invite “expressions of interest” from community groups who wanted to keep under-threat sites open, but admitted it was likely that most would shut.”

    “Doncaster Council’s cabinet made the decision at a meeting despite a huge campaign by people opposing the cuts.”

    “Mr Sheppard said: “The issue of community libraries is an absolute misnomer. Some parts of the country are already trying this and it takes 50 to 60 volunteers plus management to run one. It can only work in an affluent area because you are relying on donations. There’s no way that somewhere like Rossington could support a community library.””

    3rd February 2011

    “Former head of Doncaster Library Service Gill Johnson also attended the meeting she said: ” This was the most inept performance by a politician I have ever seen.””

    “Mr Davies repeatedly told the meeting he did not want to close any of the borough’s libraries – but insisted the council’s enforced £80million budget cuts meant there was no alternative.

    However, he drew howls of derision from audience members after admitting he did not know where Bawtry Library was and that he had never borrowed books from Doncaster’s library service.”

    31st January 2011

    “In Doncaster, a down-at-the-heels former industrial centre in south Yorkshire, 14 of 26 public libraries are slated to close. It is especially grim during recessionary times when, according to Smith, research demonstrates that people use public libraries more. “People say, ‘Why do you need libraries now that everyone has the Internet?’ But actually 30 per cent of British homes don’t have home Internet access at all. Many people come to libraries not just to borrow books but to apply for jobs online.”

    28th January 2011

    27th January 2011

    • The Forester: Law could be key to libraries protest

    “…legal challenges to library service cuts are being considered by campaigners in Doncaster, Lewisham and Oxfordshire, following those in Somerset where campaigners have sent a pre-judicial review letter to their council on behalf of parents and children whose libraries are threatened with closure. As well as the Public Libraries and Museums Act, questions have also been raised regarding breach of the Education Act.”

    • Retford Times: Couple fight to save library. p.7

    “Mrs Morgan said: “We are appalled that anyone could think of closing our beautiful library. This will rip the heat out of our wonderful community. If libraries close, they will be gone forever. The damage will never be repaired. We need to think about the children, as the library also belongs to them. “We need more education not less. If education is expensive, try ignorance.”

    26th January 2011

    24th January 2011

    “The closure news – which was delivered to library staff via email – has caused uproar across the community, with business groups and shopkeepers vowing to fight the plans.”

    21st January 2011

    • Morning Star: Letters – Save our libraries – join a read-in with your favourite book

    20th January 2011

    “Council Labour leader Coun Sandra Holland said the speed and severity of the cuts to be made had left little time for proper public consultation or for any meaningful discussion and planning about alternative provision.”

    • Retford Times: Sign the petition to save your library from closure

    19th January 2011

    16th January 2011

    13th January 2011

    “The matter was due to go before Doncaster Council cabinet yesterday, but was deferred before the meeting started. One cabinet member told the Star there was concern over some of the details of the officers report.”

    12th January 2011

    “…denying an already deprived village of the one amenity it has managed to hang on to during decades of bad times, will be devastating. No ‘real’ money has been spent on the village for decades although it is one of the borough’s highest rated council tax areas.”

    • The Guardian (London): Comment: ‘We do so much more than shelve books and say shhh’

    9th January 2011

    • Sunday Mirror: Lend of the line;  1 in 3 libraries face axe under Tory cuts

    8th January 2011

    • The Guardian: Special report: Libraries seen as easy touch when it comes to balancing the books: Up to 800 – a fifth of the total – could close as local authorities look for savings

    “Doncaster is set to lose 14 of its 26 libraries, with poorer areas most affected, said Joyce Sheppard of the Save Doncaster Libraries campaign. “The pits have closed, drugs have moved in, and there is unemployment,” she said. “Doncaster is such a poor area, with low attainment in literacy, and these cuts matter,” she said.”

    6th January 2011

    “The speed and severity of the cuts to be made in the first year have left little time for proper consultation with the public or for any meaningful discussion and planning about alternative provision and that is not in anybody’s best interests.”

    “Staff at the library have been informed at short notice by e-mail, which is bad enough, but the public have not been told at all what is happening.”

    • Retford Times: Library could be facing final chapter

    4th January 2011

    The Star: Council plan to axe 14 libraries

    January 2011

    “It is essential that libraries are run by qualified staff with the right ethical grounding to provide a wide and balanced variety of information to the public. If libraries are run solely by volunteers, or by private companies, the information provided and the training courses offered may become skewed and biased.”

    24th December 2010

    21st December 2010

    16th December 2010

    “I am writing to you to express my concern regarding the proposed closure of several Doncaster Libraries.

    If this plan goes ahead, it can only have a detrimental effect on the education of children in Doncaster.

    Many children rely on the resources available to them in their local Library as they do not have access to these resources at home.

    Doncaster Libraries have provided a valuable resource for many years, not only for educational reasons but also as a place for social interaction in secure surroundings.

    Many parents who relied on their local Library when they were growing up would be upset to find this not an option for their children. With a growing population of elderly people and those unable to find work, the Library is often the only place locally for them to find out valuable information. This is a service which cannot be absorbed by the Central Library as many people would be unable to make the journey into town simply to visit the Library.

    I am aware that local authorities have a very difficult job trying to manage a reduced budget but surely short term cuts to save money should take into consideration the long term knock-on effects for local residents and their families.

    With this in mind, I wish to register my opposition to the proposed closures.

    Mrs J Flynn, Doncaster”

    14th December 2o1o

    • Yorkshire Post: Front-line losses ‘inevitable’ as council budgets slashed by 23 per cent

    Eric Pickles: “Before we see libraries closed I want to see them merge their back office functions, I’d like to see them sharing chief executives, their legal department, their accounts department, their payroll, their IT, their planning, their education support functions,” he said. “When they’ve done all that if they feel they have to close libraries then they should come to see me again.”

    13th December 2010

    5th October 2010

    18th August 2010

    “Doncaster’s libraries have provided extremely limited services for years: the number of qualified librarians has dropped from 26 to two; there is no head of libraries; and the “customer service managers” who run libraries do not appreciate the need for professional staff to run a service that offers far more than just books.”

    Library closure petition grows


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