Rosehill Readers: what we stand for

27 Jun

SAVE SUFFOLK’S PUBLIC LIBRARIES

Sponsored by

The Rosehill Readers Campaign Group

 

Who are we? 

We are ordinary members of the public who originally got together in 2011 to campaign to help save Rosehill Library in Ipswich from possible closure.

In December 2011 Suffolk County Council divested itself of the direct responsibility for running the library service and set up an arm’s length “business” to take over the operation of library services, called an Industrial and Provident Society (IPS).

We were and still are opposed to this course of action. We recognise that the IPS will try to provide a continuing library service under difficult circumstances but we fear for the long term future of Suffolk’s public libraries.

We consider that Suffolk County Council has acted unreasonably in pushing through its unnecessary divestment policies.

We therefore argue that to protect Rosehill Library a campaign must deal with county-wide issues and not be concerned only at the local level.

We also strongly believe in the value of all the libraries in Suffolk that have been established over the last century or so. We don’t want to protect just Rosehill, at the expense of any other library.

We argue that library supporters should really be a “friend of all the 44 libraries and 6 mobiles”, not just a “friend” of their local library.

 

Our overall objectives

All of Suffolk’s 44 County Council libraries and six mobiles to be retained, and preferably enhanced, as an integrated, and publicly financed, core public service, without reductions in the quality and quantity of library staff, or service.

We argue that this really means that the libraries will, in due course, need to be taken back into proper public ownership and operation, and be fully accountable to Suffolk citizens, via the democratically elected structures of the county council.

 

Our Current Campaign Strategies

  • to continue to question the SCC’s original decisions and to seek to hold SCC to account for the library service
  • to monitor and question the cost of setting up the IPS
  • to monitor and question the policies and operation of the IPS in the spirit of constructive criticism
  • to support , as far as we can, any library users group in Suffolk, campaigning along similar lines to ourselves, with information, resources, analysis and shared experience
  • to encourage the IPS to retain as much as possible existing of the structures/systems of the county library service
  • to encourage the retention of as many of the assets of the existing library service (i.e. buildings, equipment, systems, books, resources and especially, staff) within the county council (preferably) or at least within the IPS as a whole
  • to support the creation of local library user groups, but to oppose the formation of incorporated bodies at local level with legal/financial responsibilities for library services.
  • to oppose any fragmentation and unilateral spin-off/privatisation of any part of the library service.

We suggest that the following principles should guide any assessment of the library service as it runs under the new divested arrangements:-

 

Libraries should be operated:

  • As a public service not a business or a subscription service
  • With proper public funding via central taxation and Suffolk County Council (the legal Library Authority for our county) council taxes
  • Without  reliance on charitable funding

 

Libraries should  be run:

  • as a county-wide integrated service managed and operated by professional librarians and the appropriate support staff,
  • by a properly remunerated workforce, who are respected and supported by properly trained volunteers (not substitutes for permanent staff) to enhance core services,
  • by an independently represented workforce to maintain employment and service standards for both the library and support staff.

 

Libraries services should

  • be maintained and enhanced, especially in times of economic hardships, not reduced or cut,
  • benefit from county-wide economies of scale,
  • enable local people to get involved to shape their library service, but NOT be required to fund-raise, or volunteer in order to keep existing services running,
  • ensure the maintenance, or enhancement of existing services, especially book stock, and supplementary resources, and services to disadvantaged or vulnerable groups,
  • be directly accountable both locally and at county level to directly elected representatives of all the people of Suffolk,
  • be managed in such a way that facilitates, not reduces, open and transparent and accountable decision-making, with proper public access to information and policy considerations.

What we will do…………………………. What can you do…………………………………

We will continue to campaign for a proper public library service in Suffolk, and for Rosehill library’s unique part in that service. We ask people to join us by:

  • Responding to us online via the Rosehill blog , Twitter and Facebook  with comment and ideas
  • Monitoring what is happening in your local area
  • Reporting back to our campaign to help to continue to build a county-wide picture
  • Setting up a local group to campaign along the lines set out above
  • Establishing a group to research and write up the unique history of your local library.
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One Response to “Rosehill Readers: what we stand for”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Round up | Alan Gibbons’ Blog - June 28, 2012

    […] Readers: What we stand for New posting about the group’s current objectives and strategies https://rosehillreaders.wordpress.com/2012/06/27/rosehill-readers-what-we-stand-for/ This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged libraries by Alan Gibbons. Bookmark the […]

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