Monday, 29 October 2012

School Libraries Lobby 29/10/12

Today, on behalf of Voices for the Library, I attended the School Libraries Lobby at Parliament.

We marched from Victoria Embankment Gardens to Parliament where individuals lobbied their MP's to make School Libraries a statutory requirement and part of the OFSTED Inspection Schedule, they are also asking for them to be properly resourced with paid, trained and professional Librarians and Library staff.
Well done to the organisers and to everyone who attended.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Wokingham privatisation pulled?

I spotted this on Public Libraries News, it's from Prue Bray a Lib Dem Councillor in Wokingham

Wokingham libraries: a victory for common sense – and for the Lib Dems
Wokingham Conservatives have decided NOT to proceed with outsourcing the running of the libraries to the private sector.
They first announced they were going to do it in May 2011. We collected signatures for a massive Lib Dem petition against it, which led to a debate in November 2011. And now finally they have accepted that it wasn’t the right thing to do either financially or for the service. Which was what we said at the start……
David Lee, Conservative Leader of the Council, described the Lib Dem campaign to save the libraries as “laughable” in the Reading Chronicle last year:
I bet he’s not laughing now.

also this from Matthew Dent;

and this which seems to confirm the news

"The future of library services in the Wokingham Borough was discussed last night (October 25)
by Wokingham Borough Council’s decision-making executive.

Executive member for internal services Cllr Pauline Jorgensen said: “The council has been
working with interested parties in a competitive dialogue process to see if there are ways that
we can work with the private sector to improve the library service we offer. The result is that we
haven’t been convinced there will be enough benefits for our library users to continue with the
process. We also don’t want to take the risk the key objectives would not be achieved for our


Sunday, 21 October 2012

The TUC March and Speak up for Libraries

Yesterday i marched with fellow Library Campaigners from VFTL on the TUC March in London, we carried the Speak up for Libraries banner and met along the way campaigners from Brent S.O.S., Preston Library Campaign,  SLAM and Lambeth as well as numerous other Library staff and supporters! The amount of support that we got for our message was amazing, with people clapping, taking photos and generally welcoming us.

Our main aim was to publicise the SUFL campaign and conference on 10/11/12, we handed out loads of leaflets and even got a mention on the march for libraries and library cuts, so a very successful and enjoyable day.
So let's use the Speak up for Libraries Conference on 10/11/12 to build on this, to come together to discuss a positive way forward and a plan of action!

Speak Up For Libraries conference - 10 November

Following on from the success of our Parliamentary lobby day in March, Speak Up For Libraries are pleased to announce that we will be holding a conference in central London on 10 November 2012 to champion public library services and library staff, which is open to all to attend.
The day-long event will pull together library campaigners and supporters from across the UK and give them the opportunity to build on their existing campaigning skills and tactics, share ideas and strategies, and focus on a way forward to make their local campaign as effective as possible, with the goal of ensuring library services are supported and protected, now and in the future.

  • Time: 10.00am to 4.30pm
  • Venue: CILIP, 7 Ridgmount Street, London WC1E 7AE
  • Cost: £20.00 per person
  • Booking Essential

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Cornwall Council privatisation plan dealt a fresh blow - thisiswestcountry - 17/10/12

Not only has the Deputy Leader resigned and the Leader been ousted but now it looks as if one of the companies, CSC, has also pulled out of the the Cornwall privatisation fiasco!

"Stuart Roden, from the union Unison said he thought the news meant the project would now be "dead in the water", and that to end up with one tender would make it unviable to proceed. "

see also:

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Deputy leader resigns over plan - thisiscornwall - 11/10/12

Fascinating stuff in Cornwall, Tory Deputy Leader, Jim Currie, has resigned over plans to privatise services! The proposals are along the same lines as the 'joint venture' fiasco in Barnet, in his resignation email he says;

"I feel I have pushed the cause of retaining council control over the joint ventures as far as I can with the Cabinet."
"The financial risks involved with the rush into the joint venture (JV) proposals are unacceptable. The JV is basically too large to control."

Thursday, 11 October 2012

York leaders face library plans quiz - The York Press - 11/10/12

Many thanks to Shirley Burnham for pushing this my way;

It looks as if York Council are now  looking at the Suffolk model for their library service even though the public consultation on the issue didn't mention removing the libraries from public ownership, oh dear another sham!

"CITY leaders are to be pushed for answers over plans for the future of York’s libraries tonight.
The Press revealed last week how City of York Council has suggested a “community benefit society” could be set up to run the city’s library service – which has to save £250,000 next year – on the Labour-controlled authority’s behalf, as it could attract more external funding.
Coun Nigel Ayre, the Liberal Democrat’s cultural services spokesman, will tonight ask Coun Sonja Crisp, cabinet member for leisure, culture and tourism, whether this idea is the only way forward and seek guarantees that staffing levels will be maintained when any changes to the service are made. He said a public consultation on the issue did not include questions on “future ownership or management changes”, and the exercise should be withdrawn and replaced by “a proper debate”.  
“Given the importance of libraries, I would be extremely anxious about any move away from public ownership, but we need to see what Labour are proposing and all the details of the alternative vision for libraries we know they are working on,” he said. "

The struggle continues in Madrid!

A message from our comrades in Madrid, who still wear black every Friday and protest against the huge cuts and the proposed privatisation of libraries !

Dear Allan,
I send you a new photo. We are surrounding symbolically the Congress of Spain. We try to explain, after the last protest in front of the Congress main door, tht the real problem is the people inside the bulding (big salaries, privileges...), not outside.
best regards

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Wandsworth confirmed in last three to run Croydon’s libraries - Inside Croydon - 01/10/12

"The final bidders, as we predicted, are Greenwich Leisure, John Laing Services (a subsidiary of the company that is already in bed with Croydon over the £450 million URV property speculation deal) and Wandsworth."

Eight-year contracts are on offer, although the local Labour party has suggested that were they to win power in 2014, they would seek to cancel the deal."
“This concluding part of the tendering process follows several months of detailed discussions which have allowed both councils to make sure that the organisations who submit final bids are all fully capable of running the service,” an official council statement issued this afternoon by Croydon Council said.
"Final bids will be due in next month, with the successful bidders taking over the running of our public libraries by April next year.
“This is an important milestone in the project as we have now closed our preliminary discussions with the bidders and they now have three weeks within which to complete and return their tender documents for us to evaluate against established criteria,” said Tim Pollard, the cabinet member for children, families and learners who inherited this policy from the shambles left by Sara “Book Token” Bashford."

A Texas Public Library Terminates Contract With LSSI - Infodocket - 01/09/12

So it is true then!

"LSSI Vice President Bob Windrow released a short statement Thursday saying the company would work with the city for a smooth transition of services."

"Susan Hauer, LSSI managing director for eastern operations, said the company is often able to negotiate lower prices for items and services because they operate 76 libraries nationwide."

"But commissioners lodged frustration that LSSI routinely refuses to divulge its profit margin. A budget LSSI provided the city last year gives a breakdown of staff costs and material costs — noting there is a 7.5 percent LSSI fee on materials — but does not otherwise outline the company’s fee."

LSSI are very secretive about their profit margins, the data is seen to be 'commercially sensitive' which to me, and the San Juan Commissioners, seems to fly in the face of accountable and open local democracy!

(thanks also to Lori Rivas from the Save Our Santa Clarita Libraries Campaign for verifying this story)