Contact with Council and MP - 2013
Contact Robert Buckland MPPlease use the link below if you wish to contact
Any Comments ?
You can mail the Lead Member for Libraries, Councillor Keith Williams Mail Councillor Williams
1964 Libraries Act
Please Click here to read the Libraries and Museums Act 1964, with all amendments
QUESTION TO CABINET : 6TH FEBRUARY 2013
To the Cabinet Member for Leisure and Strategic Transport
"Will you reconsider the arithmetic you are applying to create Libraries Savings? Will you commit to ensuring that the smaller libraries are not closed by stealth, but are sustainable - treated fairly with regard to opening hours and staff ?
It is my view that the cuts in opening hours to be applied to smaller, local, accessible libraries are *disproportionate*
The following small 3 examples of small libraries. These already start out from a VERY low baseline of opening hours / staffed hours :
Even Swindon it seems is open only 10 hours per week anyway.
Penhill (currently 19 - cut to 10 hrs) A cut of 9 hours
Old Town (currently 18 staffed hrs - cut to 10 hrs) A cut of 8 hours
Not so long ago, Swindon Council wanted to close all the smaller libraries or hand them over to volunteers. These proposals will close them *by stealth* !
It is a known fact that further savings will be necessary next year. I foresee that Councillors will then claim that footfall or borrowings have reduced at these libraries.
But that will be as a direct result of any reduction in their already miserly opening hours and paid frontline staff.
The small libraries, including Old Town and Penhill will have utterly inadequate opening hours and staffing - a cut of almost 50% - that will lead to their demise. We shall fight that!
Please click here to read Swindon Chief Librarian's e-mail to Shirley of 6th February, with detailed clarification of the proposed cuts
The Cabinet Member's response to Question:
"Thank you for your questions. The Council has no policy to close libraries at this time. We have more libraries per thousand of population than many equivalent local authorities. The Council will maintain a modern, adequate library service for the whole Borough. Regardless of the fact that the Council needs to save £15m in this budget and a further £15m the following year, it is the Administration's duty to keep all services under review and take into account the changing needs of the whole population."
BOOK FUND 2012
Shaun Smith of Swindon's Library Service responded on 18th January to my query about the proposed 15% cut to the Book Fund.
Please click here to read the article which alerted us in the Swindon Advertiser on 11th January 2012Shaun confirms in his response that he has undertaken work, using CIPFA statistics, to compare Swindon’s spending on books with other library authorities in our area and nationally.
His conclusions are as follows :
"The results show us to compare favourably with our neighbouring authorities and with the other English unitary authorities in the financial year 2010/11
"For example, Swindon’s expenditure per 1000 population on all library materials in 2010/11 was £2,222. This was the 6th highest figure of the 43 English unitary authorities listed and compares favourably to our neighbours in Oxfordshire (£2194), Wiltshire (£1174), Gloucestershire (£731) Somerset (£932) and West Berkshire (£1562)
"Of course, if we reduce our stock fund by 15% as proposed, the overall figure per 1000 population will also fall (to £1889) but this figure would still compare favourably with other authorities, and would maintain Swindon’s position as one of the higher spending library authorities on books per capita, especially as many other authorities are also proposing cuts to their stock funds.
"This position has been achieved by enhancing and protecting the stock fund over a long period of time – this is the first reduction in the stock fund for many years, and we feel that we can maintain the quality of stock provided by ensuring that the stock we do have is effectively managed and circulated to ensure maximum use and value for money."
[ Shaun attached more detailed figures showing expenditure per 1000 population for different categories of stock for 2010/11. Send us an e-mail if you wish to receive these. He invites us to contact him if we have any queries. ]
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