Sunday, 10 February 2013

National Libraries Day: a pledge for Croydon - Inside Croydon - 09/02/13

"TIMOTHY GODFREY restates a commitment to hand the running of the borough’s libraries back to the communities"

"Timothy Godfrey is Labour Spokesperson for Culture, Sport and Libraries on Croydon Council"

"On National Libraries Day, let me restate our promise on Libraries: We will cancel the privatisation of Croydon libraries and we will honour the pledge to match fund Lambeth Council at Upper Norwood Library."

In response to this Elizabeth Ash, the Croydon based National Library Campaigner said;

"When will councillors in Croydon stop using our much loved and much needed services as political footballs and start listening to those they were elected to serve?

Just as Croydon Conservatives had no mandate to outsource our libraries Croydon Labour have no mandate to hand them over to the community. The brazen disregard for the views of residents must stop as must the secretive way Croydon goes about its business.

Croydon Conservatives embarked on an outsourcing exercise that has been twisted for their own purposes. It is shameful that an additional £4 million of our money is being wasted on furthering Croydon's dubious relationship with Laing rather than offer the contract to GLL, who were not only considerably cheaper but have a far more sound track record in developing libraries. But what Croydon residents really wanted was for efficiencies to be made. Tim Coates identified the huge back office costs loaded on the libraries budget that could be cut and the income generation ideas offered by residents were also ignored.

And if anyone wants the facts we ( Save Croydon Libraries Campaign at ) have files of the stuff - the views of residents, both incidental observations and as a result of the sham consultations conducted. As a Croydon library campaigner I have been threatened and belittled ( a tactic I am told is not uncommon in Croydon) but I am even more determined that we will fight on to the end and that the truth will be exposed and used to challenge.

Croydon Labour will win no favour by using the plight of our libraries purely to offer grand election promises that may not ever come to fruition. They should be standing up NOW to challenge the lack of transparency, the ill-conceived decisions, highlighting the appalling deterioration of our much loved library service and really listening to the views of residents.

We must stop celebrating the hollow victory of open doors. The real fight is for the championing of the core offer of a comprehensive and efficient library service within; a service Croydon residents are entitled to, by law, and currently being denied."

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