Libraries “close to breaking point”

4 Oct

“Suffolk Coalition for Public Services and Ipswich & District Trades Council would like to express serious concerns about Suffolk Libraries  Industrial and Provident Society (IPS).

The Evening Star (20th September, 2012) has brought to public attention concern about staffing shortages and day-closures because of a lack of cover in Ipswich Libraries.

A worker is cited saying that service is ” close to breaking point”.

This has become even more evident since the Star article appeared.

Users comment that:

  • The lift in the Central Library (Northgate Street) has been out of order for some months now though we now understand it has been repaired. This denied access to services on the first and second floors to the disabled and others.
  • The Internet, one of the most important Library services, is deteriorating daily. The Browser needs updating, and as a result there is constant “buffering”. Many sites cannot be properly accessed, including Facebook, E-Mail and information sites.
  • Books have been given the wrong bar-codes, or simply not been registered on the new system.
  • There are concerns that the level of staffing is not adequate to cope with daily  public demand.
Cuts are planned, and will no doubt further affect the Libraries’ services.Behind this there is a lack of transparency about the way the Industrial and Provident Society is run, and to whom it is accountable.The issue of how local groups are organised and how they will raise the money the County Council says they will have to provide for each library has yet to be resolved.

We would like to say that the transfer of a democratically-run publicly-owned service to a private charitable organisation is not proving a success.

We continue to oppose any cuts in library funding.

Teresa MacKay
Secretary, Ipswich & District Trades Union Council”

(reproduced by Rosehill Readers with permission)

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One Response to “Libraries “close to breaking point””

  1. Christopher Pipe October 9, 2012 at 3:08 pm #

    Remember, Suffolk taxpayers: whatever the management structure of the libraries – whether using an IPS or other contractor to provide the service – the council qua library authority remains legally obliged to provide a comprehensive and efficient service at no charge (for core services) to any resident, student or worker in Suffolk wishin to make use of it. This legal duty cannot be divested. (Do I see a court case looming?)

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