Suffolk Libraries – where are we now?

20 Jun

Last week, the Scrutiny Committee of Suffolk County Council met to discuss the library situation, and to produce recommendations to go forward to the full Council meeting in July.

After hearing from witnesses, including a member of Rosehill Readers, the committee recommendations are:

The full Scrutiny Committee recommendations are:

a)    the classification of County Libraries and Community Libraries referred to in the Consultation document is not a reasonable basis for a policy;

b)    the potential community interest company agrees individual budgets for each library; [no details have yet been provided of how the Community Interest Company will be run,  Judy Terry will make these available]

c)    the business case considered by Cabinet should clearly demonstrate how the community interest company service would operate across the whole of Suffolk;

d)    that the Council retain the ability to ensure that the terms offered by the community interest company were sufficient to maintain a sustainable service;

e)    any claims on secondary taxation from Parish, Town, District or Borough Councils be carried out on an equitable basis across Suffolk;

f)    due consideration be given to innovative ideas that have already come forward and any others that are received  from communities on how their services might be run;

g)    the policy on mobile libraries be clearly stated in the report to Cabinet;

h)    the Council provide absolute clarity to communities interested in running their libraries on issues they were likely to raise such as finance, staffing and legal issues;

i)    the Council must satisfy itself on the financial viability of the plans put forward and that they are sustainable.

j)    further expressions of interest are welcome and will be considered.

Rosehill Readers believe that these recommendations do not go far enough, and that the legitimacy of the initial consultation and the Methodology that will be applied to the responses is not thorough enough and we will continue to campaign against library cuts and divestment.

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