Tag Archives: volunteers

Concerns Over Brent Campaigners Volunteer Run Libraries

As many library campaigners in the UK probably know, the judicial review raised by Brent library campaigners began earlier this week. It looked very promising that campaigners had forced their Council into this position to save their local libraries.

However, it appears that one of the main reasons for taking this to court is that local campaigners put proposals to Brent Council to run these libraries as volunteer managed/community led libraries and these proposals were rejected by the council. (See here for more details.)

This came as a bit of a surprise to other local campaigners, including Voices For The Library team members, who have not only been defending the value of libraries, but also the importance of the roles trained library staff and librarians have in providing these services. The outcome of this judicial review could have serious implications for other campaigners who are not campaigning for volunteer run libraries, including those whose judicial reviews (such as Gloucestershire and Somerset) are due to be heard.

It also raises the question about whether high profile supporters of Brent’s library campaign, such as Philip Pullman, Alan Bennett, Zadie Smith and Michael Rosen were aware of the campaigners intentions?

The Guardian, (Monday 22 November 2010) stated:

Philip Pullman, author of the His Dark Materials trilogy, said he was “greatly concerned” by developments. “The librarian is not simply a checkout clerk whose simple task could be done by anyone and need not be paid for,” he said. “Those who think that every expert can be replaced by a cheerful volunteer who can step in and do a complex task for nothing but a cup of tea are those who fundamentally want to see every single public service sold off, closed down, abolished.”

Surely this statement of support for librarians is at odds with support for the Brent libraries campaign.

Alan Benett also talks about concern for the privatisation and selling off of local libraries:

“It’s hard not to think that like other Tory policies privatising the libraries has been lying dormant for 15 years, just waiting for a convenient crisis to smuggle it through. Libraries are, after all, as another think tank clown opined a few weeks ago, ‘a valuable retail outlet’.”

One of the Brent campaigners concerns was the rejection of the proposal for Library Systems and Services UK Ltd, a private company to take over the running of some libraries. Even the move towards volunteer libraries could be seen as a step towards selling off the library service and “discharges [Brent] of their obligations.”

We also wonder if other supporters of the campaign, such as Michael Rosen and Zadie Smith, are happy to support this situation, bearing in mind that the value of libraries they used when they were younger – the libraries that played such an important part in their lives – were built up on the work that librarians had undertaken to develop the service?

It’s also interesting to note that the Brent campaigners cite CILIP in their reasoning behind their plans, indicating how library services should be provided. CILIP is the professional body for librarians and library staff, and as such, it’s doubtful that they would also advocate the removal of trained library staff and librarians as the main providers of public library services, and replace them with volunteers.

We are very concerned about this situation!

UPDATE: Since publishing this post a number of Brent campaigners have commented on it and we welcome the discussion this has led to. Please see here for more details.

Are volunteers happy to run libraries?

As time moves on for library consultations in the UK, many local authorities appear to be focusing on the fact that if communities don’t want their libraries closed then they must run them themselves. I know this situation has been discussed before, but the thing that strikes me about this stance is that:
  • Local authorities suggest that local communities on the whole are happy to do this.
  • It feels as if local authorities are using emotional blackmail against communities.
Here are a number of quotes taken from UK newspapers to illustrate the situation.

“For months, Richard Graham has been telling people that someone in Matson is certain to take over the running of the library from the county council,” he said.

“He has asked at least four local groups to my knowledge and all of them have said ‘no’ and are committed to fighting the library’s unjust closure which targets one of the poorest communities.”

This is Gloucestershire: Gloucester MP’s library claims dismissed as books nailed to a cross

“The issue of community libraries is an absolute misnomer. Some parts of the country are already trying this and it takes 50 to 60 volunteers plus management to run one. It can only work in an affluent area because you are relying on donations. There’s no way that somewhere like Rossington could support a community library.”

Doncaster Free Press: Mayor apologises as Doncaster’s Cabinet approves library cuts (4th Feb, 2011)

“As a community we have got to do something, otherwise we will lose the library and we absolutely have to keep it going,” said Mary Waller, a retired librarian and member of the newly formed Berkeley Community Library Committee BCLC.

“There are so many reasons for keeping a library open and no reason at all for closing one.

Gazette Series: Berkeley community set to take on threatened library (5th May, 2011)

“The council hoped to realise savings of £417,300 in the current financial year by “reconfiguring” the library service.

But a public outcry over plans to close 20 libraries if local groups fail to accept an offer of “community take over” has forced the council to hold a public consultation, which will not end until June 13.”

Daily Echo: County council given ‘red alert’ over failing projects (5th May, 2011)

“I don’t want to see libraries closed – I want them to continue to succeed. We know how important they are – and that’s why we’re working to make sure they stay open into the future. Like every council service, they need to play their part in making savings – but, with the support of communities, no library need close.

This is Gloucestershire: Mark Hawthorne: Library closures show how hard times are (16th Feb, 2011)

“The council are consulting but I think the final line is they will shut the library unless the community finds a way of taking it over. I do understand the county’s position but I think they haven’t really got a clear idea about where the funding and provision for this library is going to come from.”

Cambridge News: £36,000 to keep library safe (12th May, 2011)

“Great Missenden, Chalfont St Peter and Gerrards Cross are three of 14 libraries which will be run largely by volunteers as part of ‘county and community’ model.

If enough volunteers are not found to run these services they face closure.”

Buckinghamshire Advertiser: Chief calls on communities to save libraries (11th April, 2011)

Judging by the responses from local communities, people are not in favour of running their own libraries, but, as they are in favour of keeping the public libraries in their communities, they feel that they have to run them or run the risk of losing them.

Emotionally blackmailing people into running a library service in this way, because the local authority no longer wishes to continue providing the service, is wrong and morally questionable.

We also have to raise the question that, if the local community can see the value of having a local public library so much that they are prepared to volunteer to help run it, then why can’t councils see the value in keeping that library open and continue to fund it themselves with trained staff?

Ramsgate library - ijclark

Ramsgate library – ijclark/Flickr

Will Lewisham bidders focus on library services?

Lewisham Council recently ran an event (12th April 2011) to showcase organisations who were proposing to take over the running of four of their library buildings at Crofton Park, Grove Park, New Cross and Sydenham. The event was advertised with the following statement on Lewisham Council’s website.

Lewisham Council is currently inviting bids from enterprising organisations that are interested in taking on the management of one or more of four library buildings earmarked for closure.

…before a decision on which organisation should be recommended to take on a lease for each building, the Council will assess the proposed use of the building and associated community benefits including plans for community library services.

(See “Lewisham Libraries – Community Interest Event” for full details)

The emphasis of the wording in both of these extracts is worrying, as it implies the building itself (the bricks and mortar) and community use of the building is the most important aspect, rather than the library services provided within it. Library services appear to have been tagged on as an afterthought.

In an earlier statement, released some time before 11th March 2011, Lewisham indicated that they intended to run library services within the premises.

Lewisham Council is looking to grant leases for four library premises in order to secure their continued community use. Anyone submitting a proposal for a lease will need to grant appropriate rights to the Council so that part of the premises can by used to provide community library services.

Anyone interested in submitting a proposal would need to address whether they intend to offer any community use in addition to the community library provision to be facilitated by the Council.

(See “Council seeks bids on library leases” for full details)

The two articles covering this issue seem to contradict each other. In the initial statement, the Council is suggesting that they will run the library service at these libraries and in the subsequent statement they imply it will be the organisations making proposals for the building who will be running the library service. Is the Council intending to run the library service or not? Is it a case of, “Let’s wait and see”?

Moving on from this point, the event happened and an article, “Lewisham’s library bidders meet the public” was published in “News Shopper” providing details of the organisations bidding to run the local libraries, along with their proposals. We have summarised key points from the article below.

We Think : a Community Sports not-for-profit group, whose ideas include

  • Having at least three full-time staff along with volunteers. 
  • Libraries will be called “literary learning centres”
  • Book stock will be halved initially.
  • Representative quote: “It’s about redefining what a library’s role in society is going to be.”

Eco Computer Systems: Computer recycling firm, whose ideas include

  • Staffing will include a library manager plus volunteers.
  • Book stock could be cut by 5,000
  • Funding from computer recycling, book recycling, sponsorship from housing associations. 
  • Representative quote: “This is just about giving people somewhere to sit, relax and read a book.”

Omega: Part of the New Testament Church of God, whose ideas include

  • No plan in place for staffing.
  • Omega promises no overt religious aspect to the library
  • Book stock stays same
  • Increased opening hours

 Family Services UK: Charity, whose ideas include

  • Staffing will include a council-paid qualified librarian plus volunteers.
  • Looking at funds from Lottery and Capital Community Foundation alongside other funding.
  • Library would become a new base for the charity, which offers therapy to poorer communities
  • Book stock would remain the same
  • Representative quote: “The library is like a missing piece of the puzzle for us. Staff will work in partnership with our services.”

It’s admirable that so many organisations are willing to play a part in providing library services, as Lewisham no longer wish to take responsibility for them. However, it is worrying that none of these proposals are coming from organisations that have an emphasis or background in providing library services. Have they involved experts in their discussions? There is a sports group, a computer recycling company, a religious organisation and a charity proposing to run libraries. Their main focus is not about providing a library service. The library service is an add on to their core business. Just by reading some of their quotes above it seems there is no common consensus about what a library service should be. Are these organisations basing their ideas on their own personal experiences about what they and their peers believe a library service should be, but with it coloured by their core business focus?

Surely organisations whose core focus is not libraries are not the best people to run the service. Organisations need to be impartial if they are to provide services that address the needs of the entire community: how can they provide a comprehensive and efficient, legally compliant service if they don’t have an expert understanding of methods that have been tried and failed? How can they be innovative if they don’t know what services a library should provide its users with?

KPMG – The driving force behind library closures? – Ian Clark

VftL team member Ian writes about KPMG and public policy. This originally appeared on Ian’s blog.

Last June, a report by the accountancy firm KPMG was published on public sector reform. That report caused uproar amongst librarians and library staff across the country as it claimed that:

“…giving councils total freedom on libraries could mean that they create huge social value from engaging a community in running its own library, backed up with some modern technology, whilst also saving large amounts of money on over-skilled paid staff, poor use of space and unnecessary stock”.

Since then, perhaps unsurprisingly, talk has grown of so-called ‘community libraries’ or ‘unfunded libraries’ if you prefer. It is fairly clear that the report has been wholeheartedly embraced by the current government. In fact, it is hard to see the difference between the policies being adopted in authorities across the country and the paragraph above from their report. It is certainly not difficult to imagine that central government is advising local authorities to take heed of this report and implement its recommendations. Particularly given the links between this government and KPMG.

A report back in July 2009 in The Independent claimed that:

KPMG, which also holds many public sector contracts, gave the [Conservatives] donations-in-kind worth more than £100,000 since the start of last year. A single KPMG consultant working in the Department for Children, Schools and Families costs the taxpayer £1.35m over three years, a parliamentary inquiry found. The company said it donated to all three main parties and had done so for many years. However, its gifts to the Tories were up in value from £17,200 in 2007 to £74,500 last year.

Furthermore, The Times reported that:

The Conservatives have received hundreds of thousands of pounds of free accounting advice as they prepare for government, raising accusations that they are too close to contacts in the City of London.

Britain’s biggest consultancy firms — which include PricewaterhouseCoopers, Deloitte, Ernst & Young and KPMG — have seconded some of their staff to Tory MPs as the Conservatives attempt to work out how to cut Britain’s £178 billion budget deficit and decide on a new tax framework.

They certainly appear to be quite close (although it is worth pointing out that KPMG had close ties with the previous government too). Indeed a recent meeting at the Houses of Parliament suggest that KPMG’s recommendations are being taken very seriously by this government.

On January 25th this year, a round-table discussion was held in a private room hosted by Ed Vaizey. The discussion (entitled “Libraries and the Big Society”) had the following items on the agenda:

Models for community libraries
Volunteering
Asset transfer
Philanthropy
Libraries role in empowering communities
Alternative suppliers for delivery including Mutuals and Outsourcing
Future Libraries Programme

You can actually read the full agenda here. I recently submitted a Freedom of Information request for the minutes for this meeting which was rejected by the DCMS. They weighed up the pros and cons as follows:

Public interest considerations in favour of disclosure

  • Public Libraries have potential impact on everyone and the greater the public interest may be in the decision-making process being transparent
  • Greater transparency makes government more accountable to the electorate and increases trust
  • As knowledge of the way government works increases, the public contribution to the policy making process could become more effective and broadly-based, particularly in this area where communities are being encourage to be involved in local services such as this
  • The public interest in being able to assess the quality of advice being given to ministers and subsequent decision making

Public interest considerations in favour of non-disclosure

  • The withheld information relates to the future guidance relating to libraries, which is not yet complete and subject to change. Releasing may misinform public debate because we have not finalized our proposals. The evolving nature of the information means that incorrect conclusions may be drawn, and undermine the policy formulation process.
  • Ministers and officials need to be able to conduct rigorous and candid risk assessments of their policies, including considerations of the pros and cons without there being premature disclosure, particularly regarding contentious issues, which might close off better options
  • Good government depends on good decision making and this needs to be based on the best advice available and a full consideration of all the options without fear of premature disclosure
  • The impartiality of the civil service might be undermined if advice was routinely made public as there is a risk that officials could come under political pressure not to challenge ideas in the formulation of policy, thus leading to poorer decision-making
  • Advice should be broad based and there may be a deterrent effect on external experts or stakeholders who might be reluctant to provide advice because it might be disclosed
  • There needs to be a free space in which it is possible to ‘think the unthinkable’ and use imagination, without the fear that policy proposals will be held up to ridicule
  • Disclosure of interdepartmental consideration and communications between ministers may undermine the collective responsibility of the government. Unless these considerations are protected there is likely to be a negative effect on the conduct of good government. If the public interests outlined above cannot be protected, there is a risk that decision making will become poorer and will be recorded inadequately.

Quite why public interest doesn’t trump the concerns of the DCMS in this case I am not really sure. I shall, of course, be appealing this decision.

It seems fairly evident where this policy of unfunded libraries originates. Whilst the government refuse to step in when local authorities engage in disproportionate cuts (unless it is in the Prime Minister’s backyard of course), it is also seemingly advising councils to make libraries a central part of the “Big Society” experiment. This certainly seems to be reinforced by the appointment of Paul Kirby as No. 10’s new head of policy development. According to The Guardian:

Kirby, who was appointed by Cameron on Friday, is one of the main minds behind a public service reform white paper due in the next fortnight, which the prime minister has hailed as the biggest revolution in the public sector since the 1940s.

He claims it will end a “state monopoly” of public sector services by opening contracts to outside providers.

Kirby set out his blueprint for reform in Payment for success, a paper written last year while he was at professional services company KPMG. He claims an aggressive programme of liberalisation is necessary and shares Cameron’s view that payment by results should be introduced right across the public sector “even if there is likely to be a bleeding edge in getting it right”.

Kirby proposes “the boundaries between public, private and third sector provision should melt away” and suggests “this empowerment agenda will have to be forced on to public sector organisations in the early stages to break the tendency to structural inertia”.

With one of the masterminds behind the ill-thought through KPMG report now directing policy development, it seems obvious that not only will the government not step in to halt authorities disproportionately cutting libraries, they will most likely be encouraging it and, even more worryingly, quite possibly seeking to overturn the Public Libraries Act. They should know that librarians, library staff and library users will not allow this to happen without a fight.

‘Communities deserve and have the right to the best information services possible’ – guest blog

Today’s guest blog comes from Sally Hughes

When applying for any Librarianship or Information/Knowledge Management postgraduate course, it is generally required that the applicant possesses at least one years experience in the profession. When applying for my MA Librarianship at The University of Sheffield I had very little, all I managed to achieve was around 4 months in total by volunteering at three different libraries, two public and one hospital staff library. However, I was accepted onto the course and still think it was the best thing I have ever done.

Throughout my postgraduate course I applied for a few librarian posts but with no success yet remained optimistic that upon completing the course I would find a job relatively soon after. After two months of what seemed like endless job searching when the course came to an end I felt extremely disheartened, not to mention worried that I would not be able to find a librarian job in the coming months, I was seriously considering my options. I received an email at the end of October from the Social Sciences Dept. at Sheffield University asking if anyone would be interested in volunteering in the library at The National Coal Mining Museum for England, I immediately took up the offer and starting working there at the beginning of November last year. The Coal Mining Museum’s library is small and very specialist (given the nature of the museum) but there is still a lot to be done, and I have been given some excellent and invaluable advice from the experienced librarians employed there. I have been taught how to properly catalogue specialist stock and have been given my own mini project weeding and cataloging the small staff library stock. However, I would not be learning any of these valuable practical skills without the qualified librarians to guide and mentor me.

I am a volunteer because I need the experience, pure and simple. It is most likely that I am struggling to get a job because of my lack of on the job experience and large volumes of people applying for posts along with the recession and other depressing factors. Therefore to save me from pulling my hair out with boredom and to combat frustration over numerous applications I’m attempting to expand on my knowledge and skills practically for me, for my professional future. But, I need those professional, paid librarians to help me out with this. I am lucky that in my volunteer job I am allowed to do a lot of interesting tasks that most library volunteers wouldn’t get to try out such as detailed cataloguing, I have been told that my employers trust me to do this over other volunteers (of whom there are several, I am the only one with a library qualification) however they still check and correct any mistakes I make, everything I do is looked over and I’m given feedback on my work. There is such a large volume of back room work to be done in a specialist library and I really feel valued, it’s clear that my help is appreciated, I think some volunteers feel they are being exploited or their work goes unappreciated. I recently asked the librarians at the museum along with the head of volunteer recruitment how they felt about volunteers in libraries, along with their opinions on the prospect of volunteers running public libraries. It was stated that volunteers at the museum were recruited to encourage community participation (from both the mining and local community) and to help the librarians out with the huge amount of work they have in their ever growing collection. The librarian’s opinions on volunteers running public libraries however was not positive, one calling the closing of public libraries ‘wicked.’ The employees I spoke to at the museum library all agreed that whilst volunteers are sometimes a necessity, it is an unrealistic idea that libraries can be run by volunteers because of the knowledge, skills and specialist training required for such a job which is being blatantly overlooked by the government and local councils.

It is proposed in the government’s ‘big society’ plans that public libraries, small, branch and rural in particular, be run by their communities voluntarily. Personally I know very few (if any) people who have the free time and would be willing to do this, certainly not forever, not even for the foreseeable future. How exactly can volunteers with no library experience or continual training and guidance be expected to manage and make financial decisions for a library, let alone offer the huge range of support that qualified and trained librarians can? This is not an attack against people willing to volunteer for their public library, absolutely not, it is an expression of hurt and concern for the users of public libraries and the excellent librarians that run them. I am a volunteer, albeit an appropriately qualified one, but if the librarians left, I wouldn’t know where to start they are paid for a reason they know what they are doing. Librarians are so important to our libraries not only because they can catalogue, select appropriate stock and give advice on books, they can offer help using the internet, finding reliable health, employment and local government information, they organise reading groups, even bibliotherapy and reminiscence sessions and support life long learning and literacy skills all in a non-judgmental and neutral environment. Imagine going to the library to quietly look up the symptoms of depression only to find that the lady from a few doors down is there to check out your books, for most this would be off putting.

Whenever anyone I know has asked why exactly libraries can’t be run by volunteers because ‘it’s an easy job’, ‘it’s just stamping books’ I simply say, can you imagine if you lost your job and were replaced by a volunteer, a volunteer floor manager, a volunteer chef, a volunteer banker (imagine that!), of course there are wonderful success stories of volunteer run companies, charities and libraries but one can see the point I’m driving at; we all train hard, get well educated and put a lot of time and money into our careers and librarianship is certainly no exception. Communities deserve and have the right to the best information services possible and this should without a doubt be provided by local councils employing experienced, skilled and qualified library staff. This is not all about money, it’s also about principle and loyalty to the profession which hopefully is coming through with the masses of library campaigns, read-ins and the media coverage libraries have been receiving of late. Librarians, authors and community members would not be creating such an impact if losing library staff was deemed okay, it’s not okay; it’s insulting to librarians and will be ultimately detrimental to communities.

Volunteering is good for me; it’s helping me to progress into something better, hopefully into a job that will be rewarding and I can utilize the skills and knowledge I’ve gained. However, if my local library were to close I don’t think I would be the first person at the doors to be a new unpaid employee because without the guidance of the professionals it wouldn’t be half of what it was.

Guest bloggers are not affiliated with VftL, and all views and opinions are their own.

‘Giving communities more power does not mean dumping a problem on them…’ A letter from Carolyn

The following letter was sent by Mrs. Carolyn Carter, a Somerset library user, to her local Councillor in response to the Library Service consultation. Mrs Carter has kindly given us permission to publish this letter.

“8th January 2011

Dear Ms. Lawrence,

SCC Libraries’ Consultation

I am writing to voice my views and great disquiet about the proposed decimation of the Somerset Library Service.  Please note:  I neither work for Somerset Libraries or SCC nor have any family or friends who do; my comments are those of a library user and someone who values their worth to all in society.

I have completed the questionnaire but, like so many, it does not ask the right questions and frequently skews many of the answers.  For example,

Q.2: Which library do you use the most? (select one only)

To this question I answered ‘Yeovil’ and hence nicely bolstered the Consultation Document’s statistic, that Yeovil is one of the libraries “currently account[ing] for about 80% of all library visits, 78% of issues and 78% of active members.”

However, had I been asked why I use Yeovil, my answer would have been illuminating, viz:  ‘because I and my family have long, long ago exhausted our local library service and stock at Castle Cary and, more recently, especially since the cuts in staffing, at Wincanton too’- a very different slant on the former question, I’m sure you will agree?  Consequently, since we cannot possibly be alone in this behaviour, using the 80%/78% statistic as a basis for cuts is both misplaced and actually disingenuous.  Furthermore, just because we have experienced a poor local library service in the past does not mean we now deserve to have it even more curtailed in the future!  This is particularly important for all those users and potential users who do not have the funds, physical mobility or the transport to travel to a library much further away: I have all three, which enables me to undertake the far longer journey to Yeovil library, many do not.  Travel – and its costs – is a genuine concern in such a rural county and, where buses exist, cuts to routes and their frequency have already been announced.

The library service is always a very easy target for cuts and, no doubt, appears attractive as a candidate for ‘giving communities more powers’ etc., as wished for in the government’s Big Society.  However, reneging on statutory duties to provide: “a comprehensive and efficient library service for all persons desiring to make use thereof,” does not mean removing funding from a considerable proportion of Somerset residents – residents, I reiterate, who would  have made more use of the service had it not been drastically cut in the past.  Giving communities more power, does not mean dumping a problem on them.

Already, Somerset Library Service has far too few qualified librarians:  getting professional help is already difficult in the larger libraries and virtually or actually impossible in the smaller branches.  Since professional input is also needed for tasks such as stock selection and indexing, the lack of relevant and updated stock in the proposed community libraries can only drastically worsen.

Consequently, the assertion that:  “Savings arising from the reduction in numbers of fully-funded libraries would be matched by significant savings in support, management and professional staffing costs,” simply beggars belief and at a time when more professional help and expertise in the acquisition, indexing, finding, dissemination and utilisation of information will be needed, as unemployment increases and young people drop out of FE from a lack of EMA.

I think it highly likely you will get willing volunteers to run the proposed community libraries, but these will become little more than aging fiction book-swap clubs, being run and used mainly by middle-class, middle-aged, white women (just like me).  These unqualified volunteers will not be able to offer any outreach services, to encourage and cater for young people, offer expertise with information finding and use, keep-up indexes and catalogues to aid searching, assist with ICT and other media (if they still exist!), know what and how to buy new materials – and buy them, etc. etc. etc.

Furthermore, once the Council goes down this road and loses its staff’s expertise and skill base, the service will decline further (which will, no doubt, lead to a reduction in people using the services and the Council saying there isn’t a need for the services because no-one is using them – and so the self-fulfilling downward spiral will continue).  Such dumbed-down, out of date book clubs, with probably very restricted opening hours, will not only be an affront in a civilized society but also will not actually cater for, nor engender, the Big Society: a great many potential users (particularly the young and ethnic minorities) will be put off entering such parochial places, thereby negating one of the most important roles of public libraries, that of being socially inclusive by providing a non-threatening, non judgemental space, with a range of resources freely available to all.

These proposals are a backward step per se, would appear to contravene the Council’s statutory duties and their timing is both retrograde and a wasted opportunity in the current climate:  more people will have less money and increased (albeit enforced) free time and hence will actually need greater access to local services and the skilled help necessary to find and utilise up to date information and leisure resources.  Having a mere 14 funded libraries in a county the size of Somerset is nothing less than a shaming scandal.

Yours sincerely,

Carolyn Carter (Mrs)”

Following on from this letter, Mrs. Carter also posted an email to a discussion list, with another key point about her local library.

“Castle Cary library  is not small, it is tiny and hence the stock and lack of/access to qualified staff means it cannot offer a full service (NB. this is not a criticism of the CC staff). Ever since living in the area we have been promised a new libary but this has not happened (in fairness, latterly due to local councillors’ location concerns).  It is well documented that improved library services raise use and hence increase the all-important usage statistics.  Consequently, had CC had a new library before these cuts there is every likelihood that it would have entered the ranks of being worthy of continued funding.”