Saturday, 3 October 2015

Lewisham Library Campaigners raise concerns re cuts, volunteers & consultation with Head of Service.


"Dear.....
We were interested to finally get to read these proposals.  If we had not been informed by a contact  we still would not know and neither would many residents in Lee Green ward.  This is an important issue as the consultation is supposed to start tomorrow.  It is to be hoped that this very important public survey will not follow the same disastrous route of the supposed collection of material relating to the foundation of the borough 50 years ago.  Who knows what was missed as it was so incompetently handled by the council.
We will be distributing leaflets at our Local Assembly on Tuesday.  This would have made an ideal event for a public announcement, but no!  It is left to interested members of the public to disseminate council information.
In addition large sums of public money have been spent on both the Manor House and Forest Hill.  The mortgage remains on the Manor House until 2049.  If the buildings are to be maintained, provide public service and be paid for, where is the accountability? What do we get for our money?
The actual suggestion that any taker of a contract could be allowed to decide to reduce the size of the library space calls into question Why?  Why would the council allow a contract of such a nature, damaging to local services, to be written, accepted and signed in the first place?  Both Forest Hill and the Manor House have plenty of alternative space. Torridon Road is already a small library.
When the council proposed community libraries in 2010 there were very few takers, and one cannot say the result, which is the council's preferred model, has been an outstanding success.   The visits and issues figures speak for themselves.  If these 3 libraries are removed from the control of the public library service where will people go?  What will the CIPFA figures reveal?  Look at the map and see just 3 council run libraries?
Where will volunteers come from?  There are already ideas that they may be needed for public parks and gardens.  Where does it end, and do we get our money back?
It is accepted that public finances are in dire straits, but, surely brains could be put into gear to resolve such issues in a much better way.  And please do not suggest the public come up with ideas.  The public does this regularly and often, but, as Mr Corbyn is saying, nobody listens. 
As a Labour run council it is time Lewisham listened and stopped patronising the public.

yours sincerely,

Peter Richardson (Chair of the Users and Friends of Manor House Library)"


"Dear.....
Having had feedback that those seeking the consultation on-line were having difficulty, we tried it ourselves.
There is no link available on the proposals within the library menu of the Council website.
Searching for Library Consultation 2015 produces no result.
Consultation Portal proved no information about impending consultation details.

When will this be rectified?

When will the public be informed about consultation meetings?

Yours sincerely,

Peter Richardson, Chairman,
The Users & Friends of Manor House Library.

Patricia Richardson, Secretary
The Users & Friends of Manor House Library"
For proposals and consultation see; http://councilmeetings.lewisham.gov.uk/documents/s38457/04SavingsAppendix9_16092015.pdf
https://lewisham-consult.objective.co.uk/portal/proposed_changes_to_the_library_and_information_service
and for press coverage see;
http://www.southlondon-today.co.uk/article.cfm?id=3780&headline=Job%20fears%20at%20libraries:%20Town%20hall%20plans%20to%20axe%20staff%20to%20save%20%C2%A31m

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