Pilots in 14 Suffolk Libraries including Stradbroke, Eye and Debenham announced

Suffolk County Council have announced that they have agreed to begin negotiations with groups who expressed an interest in running 14 of the 44 Suffolk libraries as part of a "pilot" of new ways of running libraries.

Stradbroke, Debenham and Eye (as a group) are included as part of this and I have had a few people asking me what I think of the idea.

Firstly I should make it clear that I am actively involved as part of Stradbroke's bid as a Parish Councillor and a member of the Library Working Group. I will be part of a small group across the three parishes who will be taking the plans forward and talking to the Council.

I have mixed feelings about the plans but generally feel it is the right decision to be part of the process and to work with the County Council.

Back at the start of the year we all started campaigning to ensure the survival of Suffolk's libraries. This campaign has been really successful and thankfully we are now not in the position of facing the closure of a large number of libraries in April 2012. In fact there is no current closure threat to any library.

I think it is right that all of us do whatever is best for our local communities whatever mis-givings we might have personally and politically about the direction of travel. In this case I think that means the time is now right to engage positively in the pilots.

I am concerned that the longer term motivation Suffolk have is to "divest" themselves of the service but they have already had to make important concessions and retain overall ownership of the service and a good deal more responsibility than they wanted.

For local communities there will be more work and on some level it would be a lot easier if things just stayed as they were. But that option was never on the table and I think that there is much local communities can gain from engagement in the proposed pilots.

For Eye and Debenham their libraries might move to more convenient and larger sites. In Stradbroke the Courthouse building might see wider community use such as a community cafe.

Personally I don't entirely trust the County Council and I don't suppose they trust me either but the future of the service is more important than any of that. There is enough common ground in my view to work together and hopefully to build back some of the trust that was lost.

I know some won't hold with this approach and I respect that but I think the outcome will be far better for Suffolk's libraries if people who really care for the future of the service are the ones taking part in developing the future service. Sure, we won't get it all our own way, but we will get much more influence taking part than we would from the outside.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad
libraries 1542191962590699395

Home item

New Blog

This is my old blog, new posts can be found at

Blog Archive