7 Jan 2011

Trollope on Glos libraries

Joanna Trollope writes in The Guardian about Glos libraries - it should appear tomorrow in The Guardian but you can see it here. The article is titled: "The library cuts in Gloucestershire go beyond necessity or common sense. The county council is taking the axe to an inexpensive service that helps its most deprived people. "

Photo; taken from campaign website

Here is part of it:"....This means the closure of 23 libraries out of 43 – more than half. The council says it is closing only 11, but the small print reveals that all five mobile libraries will be taken off the road, and seven "library link" libraries will be reduced to opening only three hours a week – which amounts, in real usefulness to their communities, to a closure. Suppose you lived in an out-of-the-way place, and had struggled, on a rural bus, to get to one of those libraries, to find you had missed its brief opening hours by five minutes and six days? These proposed closures add insult to the injuries libraries have already suffered anyway. Book fund spending dropped by £600,000 in the current financial year, and by £400,000 in the previous one – that's £1m less on books in Gloucestershire since April 2009. There was also a staffing review that April, which resulted in scores of library jobs being axed.

"The cutting of mobile libraries leaves me speechless. There isn't a rural county as big as Gloucestershire in England without a library van.....We're not talking about saving money here, but saving sanities.....Even, it would appear, the most used libraries in the county aren't safe. In Bishop's Cleeve, near Cheltenham, the library is not only the third busiest in the county, but is also held up as a model of a modern library, with nearly 180,000 people visiting each year. But its opening hours are to be reduced to three and a half days a week. So are another five of the county's most used libraries, out of that openly admitted total of 11."

Meanwhile as the campaign website shows more and more folk are offering their support - liked the quoted below...
“William Tyndale, a Gloucestershire man, made the bible available in English for ordinary people for the first time ever, and the skyline of the county is crowned with a monument to him. How sad that Gloucestershire itself should now be making such backward steps in the provision of the written word for everyone”. Stewart Lee, Comedian.
See campaign website here and my letter before Christmas to press here. Click on labels below for more info re the campaign.

What next?

The drop-in consultation meeting that was cancelled in December in Stroud will now be at Stroud Library – 24th January, 4 – 7pm. Meanwhile in terms of timescales - reports with recommendations are expected to be considered by GCC Cabinet and full Council at their meetings to be held on 2nd and 16th February respectively. At the meeting on the 2nd, the decisions of which will only be advisory to council, the consultation results to that point will be presented. The report will be updated with further consultation responses prior to the council meeting.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

People wishing to support libraries should also check out Voices for the Library.