Five compete to run Croydon and Wandsworth libraries

Your Local Guardian: Five compete to run Croydon and Wandsworth libraries Five compete to run Croydon and Wandsworth libraries

Croydon’s libraries will be handed over to one of five shortlisted organisations.

Along with Wandsworth Council, the local authority has been working to find a partner to run its library service.

The council stated the winning bidder would provide “better value for money for tax payers”.

But campaigners fear the handover will lead to library closures and poorer services.

A Save Croydon Libraries group has been set up to try and ensure services remain the same.

The five bidders are a mix of local authorities and commercial companies, the council said.

Croydon’s cabinet member for customer services, culture and sport Cllr Sara Bashford said: “Over the years Croydon has seen substantial cost savings and service improvements through contracting arrangements such as these and our intention is to see this repeated through this exercise.

“These organisations have shown that they potentially have the vision, expertise and financial backing to deliver modern, efficient and effective library services.

“Closure is not an option for us. Our central library is the third busiest in the country, and last year we consulted widely on the future of all of our branches. We got the message loud and clear that these are important community facilities that must be kept open as a matter of priority.”

Both authorities have said all core services should remain free of charge, buildings would remain in public ownership and councillors would continue to control opening times.

Comments (2)

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10:32pm Wed 8 Feb 12

SaveCroydonLibrariesCampaign says...

It would be difficult to reduce the service in Croydon libraries further.

It is no surprise that we again learn of an update on libraries, via the local press, rather than at a council meeting or through an official council announcement.

Despite giving the message that all libraries are saved, Croydon went ahead with cuts to staffing; cuts so severe that the service could not cope. The gap is now being plugged by agency staff who are ill-equipped to cope as they are regularly rotated, and not familiar with Croydon libraries in general or the specific workings in the libraries in which they are placed. This leaves existing staff working ever harder too.

Residents and campaigners have expressed concern for the library staff, both those still remaining and the temporary staff taken on. We cannot speak directly to staff but we hope they know that we appreciate that they work very hard under extremely difficult circumstances and that we do speak up for them, and will continue to do so.

We have reports of a book cull, on a scale never witnessed before, seemingly hidden, by spiriting the books away quietly rather then openly offering them for sale, as is usual. The empty shelves and removed displays are a visible reminder though of the loss of stock.

Thanks to the Croydon Guardian for highlighting this. Anyone interested can follow the campaign at @SaveCroydonLibs and @SaveSanderstead on twitter, via our posts at soslibrary.blogspot.
com, on facebook at http://www.facebook.
com/groups/savecroyd
onlibraries/ or via the website originally set up, which is updated, at www.savesandersteadl
ibrary.co.uk
It would be difficult to reduce the service in Croydon libraries further. It is no surprise that we again learn of an update on libraries, via the local press, rather than at a council meeting or through an official council announcement. Despite giving the message that all libraries are saved, Croydon went ahead with cuts to staffing; cuts so severe that the service could not cope. The gap is now being plugged by agency staff who are ill-equipped to cope as they are regularly rotated, and not familiar with Croydon libraries in general or the specific workings in the libraries in which they are placed. This leaves existing staff working ever harder too. Residents and campaigners have expressed concern for the library staff, both those still remaining and the temporary staff taken on. We cannot speak directly to staff but we hope they know that we appreciate that they work very hard under extremely difficult circumstances and that we do speak up for them, and will continue to do so. We have reports of a book cull, on a scale never witnessed before, seemingly hidden, by spiriting the books away quietly rather then openly offering them for sale, as is usual. The empty shelves and removed displays are a visible reminder though of the loss of stock. Thanks to the Croydon Guardian for highlighting this. Anyone interested can follow the campaign at @SaveCroydonLibs and @SaveSanderstead on twitter, via our posts at soslibrary.blogspot. com, on facebook at http://www.facebook. com/groups/savecroyd onlibraries/ or via the website originally set up, which is updated, at www.savesandersteadl ibrary.co.uk SaveCroydonLibrariesCampaign
  • Score: 0

10:43pm Wed 8 Feb 12

christhegoth says...

The big worry for me is the late fees. Commercial organisations need to make a profit, so have to up the revenue libraries normally bring in.

So the charge more for photocopying and internet stuff. And up the late fees.

20p per day is manageable for a Disabled person. As even if they are 2 weeks late on 2 books ( due to illness ) it's still only something daft like £6.00.

If it goes up to £2.00 per day then... 2 books at 14 days is £56.00. A pretty obvious difference.

Considering we only get about £20.00 per week for food where we are often so poor this late fee inflation can turn into a big deal very quickly. We can't stop ourselves falling ill after all. That's what Disabled is. Very ill a lot of the time.
The big worry for me is the late fees. Commercial organisations need to make a profit, so have to up the revenue libraries normally bring in. So the charge more for photocopying and internet stuff. And up the late fees. 20p per day is manageable for a Disabled person. As even if they are 2 weeks late on 2 books ( due to illness ) it's still only something daft like £6.00. If it goes up to £2.00 per day then... 2 books at 14 days is £56.00. A pretty obvious difference. Considering we only get about £20.00 per week for food where we are often so poor this late fee inflation can turn into a big deal very quickly. We can't stop ourselves falling ill after all. That's what Disabled is. Very ill a lot of the time. christhegoth
  • Score: 0

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