Archive | December, 2012

Labour’s Policy Review: Libraries

20 Dec

Innovation, Co-location and Partnership

Libraries should be at the heart of our communities. They are a resource for parents with young children, for school children without a place to work at home, for job seekers trying to gain new skills and employment, for elderly people living in isolation, for community groups and, increasingly, an incubator for new ideas and businesses to come to fruition.

Labour’s vision is to build on the potential libraries offer – to make them an asset rooted at the heart of every community, and responsive to its needs. Recent library success stories have demonstrated that co-location provides a framework for libraries which both fulfils the more traditional, core role of lending books and ensures that users can learn and access information in new and innovative ways. Libraries have been co-located with a range of organisations including local colleges and job centres. They have also provided an access point for everything from IT to language training, job clubs to books on prescription, healthy living hubs to theatre space.

This document from Labour’s Policy Review highlights some of the innovative new library service models that are emerging around Britain and explores how through co-location and partnership working we can deliver a sustainable library service which meets the needs of communities in the 21st century.

“ A library is a unique public space and should be an expression of our local communities. If we believe in a society in which everyone, regardless of background, is able to pursue their interests, education and personal development; libraries are a fundamental tool. Labour wants every child and adult to have access to services which will help them to thrive, whether that’s learning to read, building a CV, studying a language, developing skills, meeting new people or building a new online business. Our communities will be best served by an effective, innovative and responsive library service working with community partnerships”.Dan Jarvis MP, Shadow Libraries Minister



New Strategic Direction unstoppable

2 Dec

Older readers may remember the days of Andrea Hill (Chief Exec.) and Jeremy Pembroke (Tory Leader of SCC) when something called the New Strategic Direction was invented to savagely cut staff numbers, ‘outsource’ (privatise) services and for SCC become an ‘enabling authority’ with just a few officers left at Endeavour House. Perhaps to turn the remainder of the building into a hothouse for tomato-growing.

Don’t worry, it wasn’t just a bad dream, The New Strategic Direction is steaming ahead, despite what we are told by Judy Terry and Mark Bee and others. In April 2010 Suffolk County Council employed 10,800 people to provide services to the public, paid for by local and national taxation. By April 2013, we hear that 4,600 staff will be employed by SCC. That’s a 60% cut in three years.

The Tory majority in SCC are not content with this and will aim to become an ‘enabling authority’ with no services to the public directly provided. One has to question how much control SCC will have over the private companies who win the lucrative contracts.

We watch with trepidation the IPS attempt to provide a public library service in Suffolk with only two-thirds of the budget in 2010/11.

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