Archive | January, 2012

National Libraries Day 2012 – Saturday 4th February

30 Jan

Celebrate National Libraries Day!

Saturday 4th February 2012 9.30 am – 4 pm

9.30 am – 4 pm

  • ‘A History of Rosehill Branch Library’ Archive Records Display 1870 – 2012
  • Crafts and Craft Stalls
  • Chance to Share a Book Review
  • Borrow from our display of latest book releases! 
  • Various Children’s Activities
  • Design a Poster Competition
  • Tea, Coffee and Homemade Cakes!

10.30 – 11 am

Family Fun! It’s storytime & chance to meet….The Bookstart Bear!

Come along and see just how brilliant Rosehill is! Rosehill Readers will be there with cake, and are very excited about meeting Bookstart Bear!

Click here for details of all Suffolk Library events on National Libraries Day

Library campaigners fear that the battle over libraries has only just begun

28 Jan

The following letter has been sent from Rosehill Readers to local and national press:

Dear Editor,

As a group which is very interested in Suffolk’s public library service and the volcanic events surrounding Suffolk County Council over the last eighteen months, Rosehill Readers has noticed a peculiar thing in regard to the press reports of the subject. The EADT and Evening Star coverage was thorough, not to say dogged, in its uncovering of the strange goings-on in Endeavour House: investigative journalism at its best, many would say, although we doubt that the Tory county councillors would agree. Local Government Correspondent, Paul Geater in particular seemed determined to uncover the truth about the Chief Executive and Tory Leader and the dreaded ‘New Strategic Direction’ (NSD), to the point of his being banned from Endeavour House at one point. That is, until about April 2011.

Looking back at that short period: the resignation of Tory Leader Jeremy Pembroke, the successful family march organised by Rosehill Readers in defence and celebration of Suffolk’s libraries, the sudden departure of two senior council officers (the early departure of controversial Chief Exec. Andrea Hill was soon to follow), the election of Mark Bee as Tory Leader; all these events – particularly the last one – seem to have marked a change in the reporting of council matters. By the 2nd May 2011 the SCC spin doctors were obviously working overtime with ‘Libraries saved’ and ‘end of New Strategic Direction’. Neither of these headlines, no matter how often repeated turn out to be true. So why did the press coverage change so dramatically around April 2011?

Far from ending the NSD, Mark Bee’s regime are driving it forward dressed up as “We are listening, we have learnt”. Already cutting the central management and support services of Suffolk libraries to an unsustainable degree, the Conservative councillors are driving forward with the divestment of our libraries to an external, experimental and high-risk organization called an Industrial Provident Society (IPS). This will result in community groups running their libraries, heavy use of volunteers and extra layers of delegates and board members as well as county councillors, but probably even fewer qualified library staff.

We don’t recall anyone complaining about heavy bureaucracy in the public library service before now – it was more like a shoestring operation which delivered an excellent service to the public with great value for money due to the dedication of the staff – but the spinners were at it again and ‘cutting bureaucracy’ now regularly appears as an aim of all these changes. Looking at the IPS plans, such as they are, they can only create new layers of bureaucracy as people inexperienced in delivering a valued, professional service are asked to volunteer to shoulder weighty responsibilities.

No matter how many times ‘Libraries are saved’ appears in the press, they are under a greater threat now than ever before. What lies behind this threat? A little perspective might be helpful. Mr Pembroke regularly told us that SCC was a “billion pound business” (that is £1000 million per year). Suffolk libraries and Record Offices – paid for from Council Tax and Government grant – cost us £8.9 million in 2010/11. So our valued library network of 44 branches, mobiles, archives and all the materials, access to information, services and community involvement which are provided is 0.89 of one percent of the Suffolk County Council budget. And they are still cutting it hard: it was voted through by the large Tory majority on Thursday 15 December 2011. This can only be an ideologically-driven action by people who have always disapproved of publicly-funded public services and now have the power to achieve their aims. Suffolk, be warned. Other services you rely on will be next.

Finally, a plea to the Editor of the EADT: please keep reporting the detail; the people of Suffolk are looking to the local press to keep them informed.

Regards,
-Rosehill Readers
https://rosehillreaders.wordpress.com/

Lobby for Libraries over literacy timebomb

13 Jan

Press Release from UNISON, more news to follow.

UNISON, the National Federation of Women’s Institutes (NFWI), Voices for the Library, The Library Campaign, Campaign for the Book and the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP) have today announced they will hold a joint lobby of Parliament calling on politicians to protect vital library services. 

During the lobby, on 13 March, the campaigning group will highlight the importance of libraries in providing access to learning and as a vital lifeline for many communities.

The lobby will take place at:

Midday
Tuesday 13 March
Central Hall
Westminster

Heather Wakefield, UNISON Head of Local Government, said:

“Cutting libraries is not an easy solution for councils to save cash – it is a literacy time bomb for deprived communities. 

“Community groups are being held to ransom by Government plans to force them to take over the running of services, or lose them. These groups don’t have the time, skills and resources to take over the jobs of experienced library staff.

“A shocking 30,000 children are leaving primary school with a reading age of seven or below and libraries are a vital lifeline for community groups. We need a national vision of a modern library service, as an investment in the future generation.”
 
 Ruth Bond, Chair of the national Federation of Women’s Institutes (NFWI), said:

“The NFWI is delighted to support the lobby of parliament. A threat to local library services is a threat to a community’s education and, as champions of libraries for the past 96 years, WI members are gravely concerned that so many local authorities are riding roughshod over educational resources while the Government watches in silence. It is simply not good enough to assume that volunteers will step in to continue providing services previously supplied by professionals; the Government cannot rely on community-minded individuals to step into the breach to bridge the gaps, and the loss of professional expertise is irreplaceable. 

“Local libraries are a fundamental information and education resource. Whilst in their essence, libraries facilitate access to books and resources, they play a much wider role in promoting shared knowledge and equality of opportunity, facilitating community cohesion, and enabling life-long learning and literacy from cradle to grave.”
 
Abby Barker, from Voices for the Library, said:

“Voices for the Library are urging anyone concerned for the future of the library service in the UK to get involved on March 13th. This is your chance to tell your MP how vital your local library service is, and to ask them to call the Secretary of State to task over his noticeable lack of involvement. The 1964 Museums and Public Libraries Act very clearly puts public libraries under the superintendence of the Secretary of State, however, Jeremy Hunt has yet to intervene on any level, even in the most extreme cases.” 
 
Andrew Coburn, Secretary of The Library Campaign, said: 

“Public libraries still have a wide-ranging role in encouraging literacy and education as well as providing literature for leisure and information. MPs need to know what a real 21st century library service can provide – so that they can join the thousands who are trying to prevent their branches being closed and services mutilated.”

Alan Gibbons, Author and Organiser of Campaign for the Book said:

“A reading child is a successful child. The National Literary Trust has found that a child who goes to a library is twice as likely to read well as one who doesn’t.  The UK currently stands at 25th in the PISA International Reading ranking.  Libraries are vital to improving this position.  We have to fight for the defence and extension of public library services.”

Annie Mauger, Chief Executive of CILIP, said:

“The professional skills and expertise of library staff are core to providing the public with a quality library service. Volunteers should supplement and enrich a professionally led service, not replace the knowledge and skills of staff. We are concerned that public library services in England are being damaged; the impact will be felt now and in the long term. We urge the Secretary of State to use his powers of intervention where there is clear evidence that the Public Libraries & Museums Act (1964) has been potentially breached. It is wrong to view public libraries solely as a cost; by providing opportunities for learning and literacy development libraries are an investment in communities, families and individuals.” 

ENDS

For  more information please contact the UNISON Press Office on 0207 1215 255.

Notes to Editors:

– You can follow the lobby on twitter  #librarieslobby

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