They were never EVER going to listen.

On the 12th October the DMBC cabinet are meeting to discuss the results of the consultation and consider ‘alternative ways’ of delivering the 14 libraryservices that were originally propsed for closure 1 year ago.

The earlier Council decision was to fund 12 of 26 libraries and to ‘improve and develop’ these ‘to ensure they are sustainable, high quality, fully maintained libraries that are significant community facilities;.  65,000 questionnaires were sent out to people living near the 14 libraries (not those who work or are educated in those areas as the 1964 Public Libraries and Museums Act includes).  Following feedback on the 7,000 returned, a thorough impact assessment and discussions with volunteers, community groups and library action groups the proposals drawn up are:-

Expected community-led provision at Bawtry, Intake and Warmsworth.

Expected community-led provision in a different venue at Valby, Bessacarr, Edenthorpe, Wheatley and Sprotborough.

Expected self-service supplemented by community volunteers co-located with another council service in Moorends, Rossington, Stainforth and Scawthorpe.

Enhanced Mobile/Outreach at Carcroft and Denaby (ie they will be closed).

Currently libraries cost £5.26 million to run not including money needed to maintain and invest in the buildings.  Keeping all 26 in current form not a option.

My initial reaction – what impact assessment?  Who are these groups with whom they consulted?  What other formats were the questionnaires provided in?  How did this adhere to the 1964 Act?  What costings are expected to be met by the community groups?  What support and training and provisions are the Council going to provide?  What if no community-led groups are found?  What about the current staff of the 14 – and indeed the whole service?  What is the time-frame expected to be met?  Have they considered the impact on literacy levels and education?  What about the employment market, eg Barnsley Council only accept online job applications so if you cannot access a local library to do so, how are you going to compete in the job market fairly – and against those who used to work in those libraries!? etc etc

The Review should be here:- http://www.doncaster.gov.uk/db/chamber/default.asp?Nav=Meeting&MeetingID=5515,  if that link doesn’t work it’s the DMBC home page, select Council Chamber, select Agendas, Minutes and Reports, selectCalendar of Council Meetings and Event, then choose Cabinet on the calndar date of 12th October :)  As Jon’s just said “Easy to find”!!!

The Mayor – defending decimation of services on Radio Sheffield Drive time – here  at about 59:23. He says one sentence basically which is the council will put in some books, refresh them regularly and give as much support as they can without ploughing money into it, and that if people want a library putting in one or two hours per week ‘isn’t too much to expect’. NOT A CLUE!!!!!

There is more of his interview at 1:05:32. In summary – His usual line blaming the cuts on the government. Preferring 14 libraries open via other means such as volunteers or schools. Says opponents seem to think there’s a magic tree to get money from. Says opponents invented his saying he will close a library. He’s asking people to talk to him about opening the libraries, and that’s it, the plan. Schools can take them over… Great, my kids school has just closed theirs! Says more libraries per head of population (“I think”) than any other borough “a mighty number” and had little interest in some for keeping them open – BECAUSE WE CAN’T any council funding? He says putting books in, refresh them regularly and as much support again but money. happy they can be run by volunteers? Yes in Warmsworth – they have an army of volunteers it seems. Is suspicious in one or two cases as to whether people actually want a library, Librarians are professionals – hes laughed! Says all sorts of trades and jobs need training but what;s needed for stamping a book and letting them out an in “Things are made mysterious” Admits he doesn’t know and that libraries are in the state they’re in means not had good librarians in over the recent years! NO BECAUSE YOU (AND OTHER EQUALLY GUILTY FROM ALL PARTIES) CUT THE FUNDING AND STAFFING IN DMBC OVER THE LAST 5-8 YEARS YOU UNEDUCATED AND ILL-INFORMED PERSON Sorry, typed as listened.

The responses – First up is Phil Bradley ( ♥ ) A very polite response, far more than Mayor Davies deserved, says doubts many agree with {Mayor Davies}, shame when think can get rid [of libraries], it’s part of community and without one not really a community, disrespectful to community and also to CILIP members, talking about common misconception, assistants wonderful, but like comparing receptionist to a Doctor, explained training time and that [Mayor Davies] interpretation a typical ignorant idea…. now some examples…. What about closing if not got volunteers, can you keep it this simple? A basic book service? Yes, they’re extremely valuable… but costs money to train and support… working with children therefore need CRB checks. Helpful to running but not running it themselves.

Another response came from Dave of Mexborough via text who agreed that the Mayor’s Librarian comments were an insult and he should be taken to a library, stamped, but not returned!!!

So – with the amount of support to Save Doncaster’s Libraries and the total lack of flexibility shown over the last year to change their stance in any way, despite MANY alternatives being given, how are we to think that the wholesale decimation of our libraries is anything but a political stance to dumb down our population any further.

The proposed referendum regarding a Mayoral system in Doncaster could not come soon enough, lets get rid. The possibility of electing a moron by accident is too great a risk.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “They were never EVER going to listen.

  1. Pingback: They were never ever going to listen |

  2. It was tempting to simply say that the guy was totally clueless, but I had been told that I only had 2 minutes tops to respond, so decided to try and list what we do that volunteers can’t. Shame that he wasn’t available for a live discussion though.

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