Archive | February, 2011

Public Meeting – My Notes

23 Feb

Last night I attended the public meeting called by Councillor Chris Stewart. The purpose of the meeting was to begin to  a ‘Friends’ group to put forward a proposal of intent to run Rosehill Library, should Suffolk County Council remove funding following the consultation period.

The following are my notes – apologies if I’ve got anyone’s name wrong, or misquoted anybody, please get in touch if you think I need to make amendments. Additionally, if anyone took minutes from last night, it would be great to see those too.

My opinion will follow, I wanted to get the details from last night up here as soon as I could.

Chris Stewart organised and chaired the meeting, Liz Harsant spoke about the history of the library (all research done by Tony, from Rosehill – see how useful librarians are?!). Ben Gummer, our MP, spoke about his love of libraries, saying in particular that small libraries are very valuable and that he would rather “chain himself” to the steps than see Rosehill close. He mentioned that he thought that SCC has rushed into an ill-judged consultation, and that they had handled it badly.

Lynda Farnworth spoke briefly on behalf of SCC, as she thought that her time would be better spent in a Q&A session. As a librarian, I have grave concerns over the future of the library should it be farmed out to a third party group and so asked Lynda about a ‘Service Level Agreement’ between any volunteer run libraries and SCC – by this I mean a contract between SCC and any library so that they continue to allow them to use their Library Management System (the software that runs the library, keeping track of loans etc) , book stock, IT support etc. and to ask how long they would guarantee this for.

Lynda answered that SCC are currently negotating a ‘Core Offer’ that will detail the support that they will offer. She mentioned that a service level agreement would be put in place, as all volunteer run libraries would still be an integral part of SCC library services. She added that they wouldn’t “just leave a room full of books – that’s not a library”.

A question was asked about the selection criteria for groups running libraries, how will SCC choose who runs each library, should there be a stampede of people bidding to run each branch. Lynda answered that the selection criteria would rise from the offers that are put forward in the consultation.

Lynda was also asked about training of the volunteers and how much this would cost? Training will be offered on the running of a library, however a cost couldn’t be given.  

A member of the audience mentioned that closing a library will only save that library’s running cost – not the corporate overheads, that is the library’s share of funding HR/Legal Department/IT etc would not be saved, as this cost would still need to be met and would then be distributed amongst remaining public services.

Lynda repeatedly mentioned that we should complete the consultation, in particular Section 7, which does allow you to add your own comments and gives the space to disagree with the proposed divestment.

Margaret, a local teacher, asked a for a quick show of hands for all those in favour of retaining the library as a public service – as far as I could see the vast majority of those in attendance raised their hands, a heart warming sight!

Chris Stewart closed the meeting by saying that we need to show what we can do and shame the County Council into helping us, and collected details of people who are interested in forming a ‘Friends’ group.

Please, if I have forgotten any salient points, or got he wrong end of any sticks, let me know.

The meeting has also been reported in today’s Evening Star.


Meetings: Part 2 – update

22 Feb

Don’t forget tonight’s meeting at 7pm, AlanRoad Methodist Church, Main Hall.

Despite this being promoted as a meeting to form a  working group, I have very strong suspicions that local Tory councillors and local MP Ben Gummer will be in attendance. I find this Conservative support of the library to be very peculiar, when they all support the library cuts. It will be interesting to hear how they wish to be involved.

PLEASE – come along if you can, we need as many members of the community there as possible.

Saturday 5th March – save the date!

18 Feb

The Save Rosehill campaign will be holding another day of demonstrations outside Rosehill Library to protest at the planned library cuts and show our support for this library and it’s much needed professional staff. 

More news next week,  put the date in your diary!

Meetings: Part 2

17 Feb

There is a public meeting on Tuesday 22nd February at 7pm at the Alan Road Methodist Church Hall. 

The aims of the meeting:  

…the idea is to set up a friends group which could register as a charity and then the sources of funding that can be applied for are much greater and we then have more chance of keeping the library as it is. Although no-one wants them [the cuts] to happen, we need to do something practical to ensure the library stays open.

The meeting hasn’t been called by the Save Rosehill campaign, who still oppose the cuts, but we will be there to show support for the library and it’s staff and to see what practical steps are planned for the future.

Meetings: Part 1

16 Feb

Tuesday 15th February, 7.30pm, Ipswich Town Hall

Suffolk Coalition For Public Services Public Meeting 

More information is available on Facebook

Save Rosehill in action

7 Feb

STOP THE PRESS! We made it to the Evening Star and the EADT.

Firstly, a huge thank you to everyone who came along on Saturday and showed support for Rosehill Library. It was genuinely overwhelming, and I have to admit to feeling a little tearful when I got home and reflected on the day.

It was wonderful to see so many books taken out (mostly by Hazel and her family!) and so good to hear of new readers joining the library and borrowing their first books. I lost count of the number of people who said “this isn’t something I’d usually read” but buoyed on by the ‘max out your ticket’ request had picked up something new. I have a Wodehouse at home to read, I’d always meant to read him, but never quite got round to it before!

A special thank you to all those who took photographs, I’m keen to get as many on here as possible, so if you’d like them to be shared, please email them to me at and I’ll post them throughout the week. Thanks to Joe Catchpole who made this video.

Fight Library Cuts: Rosehill Branch, Ipswich from Joe Catchpole on Vimeo.

Finally, I think the biggest thank you  has to go to Katy (apologies if you’re a Kate, I couldn’t remember!) who had made this marvellous sign, which says it all.

P.S. Pencil in March 5th for another day of support and protest, they’re planning one over at Save Leiston, why not let’s join in?! I hope it’s less windy!

Save Libraries Day!

5 Feb

It’s here! The day we want you, the marvellous public, to come out and show your support for your local library. Read-Ins are taking place in Bungay, Leiston, Stradbroke and Rosehill so if you can pop along and say hello. If you can’t make a Read-In, or don’t live close to one then please, visit your local library, borrow as many books as you can and show that you love libraries.

Happy Save Libraries Day everyone!

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