Saturday, 3 October 2015

Save Barnet Libraries Lobby, 12/10/15, 7pm at Hendon Town Hall

Image result for save barnet libraries

to join us at Hendon Town Hall at 7pm on 12 October for the Council Meeting where the final proposals for our service will be announced. 
Maybe you signed the petition, joined a Save Barnet Libraries march, took part in the consultation? 
Maybe you’ve read the report of the consultation and know that more than 90% of Barnet residents oppose the council’s three options for cuts to library services, closure of libraries, and unstaffed opening hours? 
Now make sure your views are represented. 
Come to the Children, Education, Libraries and Safeguarding committee meeting, starting at 7pm sharp, at Hendon Town Hall on 12 October.

To get involved, e-mail us: Save Barnet Libraries is supported by: Barnet Alliance for Public Services East Finchley Library Users Group Mill HIll Residents’ Association Osidge/East Barnet Library User Group Save Childs Hill and Golders Green Libraries SaveBarnetLibraries Barnet Unison #kids4libraries

Lewisham Library Campaigners raise concerns re cuts, volunteers & consultation with Head of Service.

We were interested to finally get to read these proposals.  If we had not been informed by a contact  we still would not know and neither would many residents in Lee Green ward.  This is an important issue as the consultation is supposed to start tomorrow.  It is to be hoped that this very important public survey will not follow the same disastrous route of the supposed collection of material relating to the foundation of the borough 50 years ago.  Who knows what was missed as it was so incompetently handled by the council.
We will be distributing leaflets at our Local Assembly on Tuesday.  This would have made an ideal event for a public announcement, but no!  It is left to interested members of the public to disseminate council information.
In addition large sums of public money have been spent on both the Manor House and Forest Hill.  The mortgage remains on the Manor House until 2049.  If the buildings are to be maintained, provide public service and be paid for, where is the accountability? What do we get for our money?
The actual suggestion that any taker of a contract could be allowed to decide to reduce the size of the library space calls into question Why?  Why would the council allow a contract of such a nature, damaging to local services, to be written, accepted and signed in the first place?  Both Forest Hill and the Manor House have plenty of alternative space. Torridon Road is already a small library.
When the council proposed community libraries in 2010 there were very few takers, and one cannot say the result, which is the council's preferred model, has been an outstanding success.   The visits and issues figures speak for themselves.  If these 3 libraries are removed from the control of the public library service where will people go?  What will the CIPFA figures reveal?  Look at the map and see just 3 council run libraries?
Where will volunteers come from?  There are already ideas that they may be needed for public parks and gardens.  Where does it end, and do we get our money back?
It is accepted that public finances are in dire straits, but, surely brains could be put into gear to resolve such issues in a much better way.  And please do not suggest the public come up with ideas.  The public does this regularly and often, but, as Mr Corbyn is saying, nobody listens. 
As a Labour run council it is time Lewisham listened and stopped patronising the public.

yours sincerely,

Peter Richardson (Chair of the Users and Friends of Manor House Library)"

Having had feedback that those seeking the consultation on-line were having difficulty, we tried it ourselves.
There is no link available on the proposals within the library menu of the Council website.
Searching for Library Consultation 2015 produces no result.
Consultation Portal proved no information about impending consultation details.

When will this be rectified?

When will the public be informed about consultation meetings?

Yours sincerely,

Peter Richardson, Chairman,
The Users & Friends of Manor House Library.

Patricia Richardson, Secretary
The Users & Friends of Manor House Library"
For proposals and consultation see;
and for press coverage see;

Friday, 2 October 2015

Proposed decimation of Barnet Libraries - Update.

Shocking new proposals for Barnet Libraries just released, for full report see;

·         46% of workforce to be sacked

·         Redundancy payments will cost £1.5 million

·         71% of panellists, 88% of questionnaire respondents opposed the reduction of staff opening hours

·         Council are now proposing to cut the 634.5 staffed library hours a week to 188.  

·         Under the proposal Libraries will initially be required to open for only 15 hours a week, with or without staff

·         Four Libraries, Childs Hill, East Barnet , Mill Hill, and South Friern will be run by volunteers

·         The Library Proposal is to cut Library costs by £2.85million by 2019/20. The present budget is £4.5 million.

·         Phase one of planning for and changing the library service has been estimated at £399,300

·         Phase Two will cost £750, 000

·         It is estimated that “reconfiguring libraries to release space” will cost £2 million.

·         The cost in introducing technology that allows unstaffed opening will cost £2.41 million,

·         This means that at least £6,560,300 will be spent implementing changes to the Library Service  with the rationale of saving £2.850,000

Thursday, 24 September 2015

A letter from Camden Unison re proposed library cuts.

Dear Camden New Journal,
Whatever the truth of Cllr Angela Pober’s allegations against her former Labour group colleagues regarding the campaign opposing the closure of West Hampstead library, the accusations pose serious questions over the current public consultation over the future of Camden library servicesThe current consultation is set to run until Tuesday 6 October, and Camden UNISON was already concerned about its weighted design that can only prove divisive.
If this were, in fact, a genuine exercise to gauge the views of service users, how can West Hampstead already be safe (at least for now)? And if West Hampstead is secure, what other services face the prospect of further cuts or complete closure?  
The Council is urging the public to choose what services should go, setting library against library. The survey offers no opportunity for service users to state what they value about the service as a whole. UNISON strongly encourages library users toconsider the service in its totality. Each library has a unique role to play, some serving their immediate neighbourhood and others the wider Camden community.
The alternatives to library closures offered in the consultation range from more services run by volunteers through to more self- service and even outsourcing.  UNISON fails to see how staffing our remaining libraries and home library service with volunteers, handing  our libraries over to an outside organisation, cutting opening hours  or opening buildings without staff is either  practicable, sustainable or accountable. And the consultation document provides no indication of how management has calculated the projected savings from any of these options.
In UNISON’s view libraries and the public are best served bykeeping the service entirely under council control and staffed by .We oppose the cuts outright.
As well as the vital role libraries have in supporting literacy and learning, they are the hub of our communities and the loss of local services would inevitably lead to a reduction in community cohesion and an increase in social isolation, so impacting on other already overstretched and threatened services.
UNISON urges residents completing their consultation forms to question the necessity for these cuts. The service has already been sliced to the bone.  In the last four years spending on library services virtually halved. There have been the usual calls to make “backroom” efficiencies but there is no “backroom” work left to cut! The required £800,000 cut is a relatively small amount in terms of Camden’s overall budget crisis, but comes to another18% of the library budget. Such a cut would do massive and irreversible damage to Camden’s library service.
Please sign our petition to resist these cuts
Yours sincerely
George Binette Camden Unison Branch Secretary
Claire Marriott Unison Convener Culture & Environment
Jan North Unison Library steward

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

'Read It and Weep'; UNISON inquiry into Scotland’s libraries

"Fine words and ideals no substitute for investment: UNISON inquiry into Scotland’s libraries

UNISON, the trade union for Scotland’s library staff, has published a report 'Read It and Weep', which outlines the experience of those working in Scotland’s libraries. It raises the concerns and difficulties of staff who are simultaneously being expected to expand services while being in the front line of cuts.

The report is based on qualitative research from UNISON members working across Scotland’s libraries. The frustration on the part of staff is clear. They are well aware that the services they provide are not as good as they could be and they highlight the impacts that cuts are making. Library services have been undergoing massive change in recent years yet staff numbers have been going down, buildings are closing and opening hours reduced

Gray Allan, UNISON Falkirk council branch spokesperson (and a librarian), said “There is no shortage of people willing to say libraries are a good thing. But what our libraries need isn’t just fine words and ideals but proper financing and investment. The Scottish Government has endorsed a national strategy for public libraries that talks of libraries being part of a shared civic ambition.
"There isn’t much point in giving every child in Scotland a library card if their local library is being closed or its hours have reduced so much it isn’t accessible.

" Staff are keen to see their service move forward but that isn’t happening.”

For the full report click here;

Barnet Children's March for Libraries 12/9/15

A call to arms to all London library users, staff, campaigners and trade unionists. Please show your support and solidarity and join the march on 12/9/15.

Sunday, 6 September 2015

Solidarity to Unite members on strike in Bromley Libraries.

Solidarity to Unite members on strike in Bromley Libraries.

Last week Unite members in Bromley Libraries took further strike action against plans to privatise and amateurise the service.

One of the Unite Stewards very kindly sent me some photos and had this to say;

"We have over 1200 signatures on our surveys which just shows the massive support for our campaign. The Council must accept that they cannot go on with their plan to cover up the glaring truth that Bromley residents do not want private companies running their services. They do not want volunteers in their community Libraries, the volunteers who run the WRVS (home delivery library service to the housebound) don't want volunteers running the service! 
We will continue with our campaign to inform people of the  unnecessary  destruction that this Council is doing. We need people to write to their ward councillors and let them know how they feel. 
Steven Carr leader of Bromley council told one of our members in the high street that Bromley Libraries were under no threat but you only have to research what has happened in Croydon to see that once the private sector get hold of a service they will drain the life out of it for profit."