Small is beautiful
Two stories caught my eye showing that even small library services can have a big impact.
First, congratulations to Midlothian library services who have scooped the prestigious Library of the Year 2014 award. Midlothian only has nine static libraries and one mobile but nevertheless beat off competition from bigger services on the strength of its children’s service and “hugely impressive” programme of events.
Second was an update on James Powney’s blog highlighting the success of Brent Libraries and continuing improvements to the service. Obviously, this is still a divisive subject as some campaigners disagree strongly with the Brent libraries transformation project.
Obviously, it would be wonderful if no library budget was reduced or library closed. Wonderful but unfortunately not very realistic. Cllr Powney states that the transformation project ‘…is an exemplary case of how Councils should redesign services in the face of budgetary contraction.’ And I have to say, I agree.
Reply from UKIP
As well as Labour I’ve also taken the opportunity to write to some of the other parties regarding their stance on libraries. I’m still waiting for a reply from the LibDems and the Green Party but Tim Aker of UKIP has provided a short answer (below) to a general request regarding volunteers. I have asked for a fuller reply around the questions posed to Helen Goodman.
I deliberately chose not to write to the Conservatives as I believe their record over the past four years speaks for itself!
Dear Leon Bolton,
Thank you for your email. We’re quite flexible on the means of keeping libraries open – one size doesn’t fit all in local government. Whether it’s franchising out a section to a coffee shop, or running it on a community/volunteer basis, we
want to do all we can to keep front line services accessible to residents.