The following was sent to me by the Havering Libraries Campaign, it's a summary of the new proposals put forward by managers and staff of the service.
"This proposal has been produced by managers and staff within libraries and achieves the required budget reduction. The hours suggested for opening have been drawn up in line with not only current usage, but also with staff input to reflect community needs and service usage.
Alternative proposal 2 offers:
*53 additional hours (original plan to reduce service offered 350 hours from the current 533) to bring opening hours to 403
*retains 16 jobs (which reduces redundancy costs for the council). Original proposal was to reduce staff from 86 to 41, with this proposal bringing staff to 57.
*retains 2 areas of excellence (Romford and Hornchurch)
*there will be less impact on community services and groups (i.e. CAB)
*offers improved potential for income generation
*increased hours at Upminster, Gidea Park, Collier Row and Elm Park Libraries - politically, especially in the light of the recent attendance of 120 people at Upminster Library to protest at the current plans, this would be a great improvement.
*retention of an additional Reader Development post - which will allow the Summer Reading Challenge to continue - again, politically, this is an area which is particularly sensitive as it closely links to children's continued attainment over the Summer and is a nationwide scheme (no library authority has cut this yet - so Havering would be the first to do so - not something to be proud of!).
*retention of limited Local Studies Department
I hope you will take the time to look at the proposals suggested. Politically, I feel that these proposals offer the council the opportunity to show that they have listened and responded to public feeling about the current proposals. The proposal has been put forward by current staff and management of the service (as opposed to senior managers who produced the current proposal with little consideration for the practicalities of running the service).
Thank you for taking the time to read this email, and I hope you will be able to at least consider this as a viable alternative which meets the savings required whilst retaining more opening hours, more staff and more services within libraries."