Today Suffolk County Council announced plans to close some 29 of it's libraries. This is two thirds of them and will leave huge parts of the County with no libraries for miles around. Thousands of rural residents will need to travel by car or bus for more than an hour to borrow a book.
You can see a list of the threatened libraries at this page.
Now Suffolk CC will be sure to "correct" this article and say that they do not plan to close these libraries but rather "divest" them to local Parish Councils or community groups to run them. So some may be saved at least for a period of time. But some won't and in the long term all of these libraries may close and even those saved will depend on volunteers rather than trained staff.
Suffolk have today asked for responses to their consultation on these closures and you can do thison their website.
I have a simple suggestion to at least help with this. Suffolk currently pay their CEO Andrea Hill £220 000 per year. That could pay for several of these libraries so I would like to suggest her post is "divested" (or in plain English that she is sacked). Her post could be filled as follows:
(a) Suffolk and a neighbouring County could share a CEO. This is a real possibility and Suffolk Coastal and Waveney District do this already. They could also share several senior Director posts saving even more money for frontline services. This is precisely the model the County are suggesting for a schools who are pressed to share Headteachers and create partnerships.
(b) I am happy to volunteer together with others with senior management experience to help out and undertake the CEOs post in a voluntary capacity. There must be lots of people in Suffolk who could each give some time much like they are suggesting for libraries. If Andrea Hill thinks this is such a great model for libraries I am quite sure she will have no problem standing aside in the interests of society.
Andrea's 220k salary could keep our local threatened Stradbroke library going for 4 and a half years! If you want to have your say the please complete Suffolk County Council's consultation.
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