We bring you the latest in this series of correspondence with respect to the Libraries Consultation and the Assessment of Local Need. Latest first, as usual.
Don Buxton responded thus on Thursday, 12 July, 2012, 19:03, in his inimitable style:
Dear “Murphy, Bernard” <Bernard.Murphy@rotherham.gov.uk>
Thank you for your comprehensive, confusing and highly obfuscating response.
You have spectacularly failed to demonstrate or answer why my highly successful and well patronised library at Wickersley (RMBC’s figures – not mine) is to be disadvantaged in favour of the much lesser used and much less successful library at Aston (RMBC’s figures – not mine).
Once again, I request that you specify in clear, exact and unambiguous terms exactly why my Wickersley Library is earmarked for a reduction in hours.
You have stated: “The proposals are based on an assessment of local need for the service, rather than purely current usage. This includes the development of a number of ‘hub’ sites across the Borough( currently proposed for Wath, Riverside House, Dinnington and Aston) These sites would have extended opening hours and also offer access to additional Council and partner services”.
Please provide me with an electronic copy of the specific document “Assessment of Local Need” to which you refer. You may wish to refer this to your FOI colleagues for their assistance, but either way, this is not a request it is a DEMAND for the document/report to which you refer.
If my wording and requirements are in any way unclear to you or your colleagues then please don’t hesitate to contact me by e-mail.
Donald H. Buxton
On Thu, 12/7/12, Murphy, Bernard wrote:
From: Murphy, Bernard <Bernard.Murphy@rotherham.gov.uk>
Subject: RE: Assessment of Local Need
To: DON BUXTON
Date: Thursday, 12 July, 2012, 18:31
Dear Mr Buxton,
Thank you again for your interest in and contributions to the consultation regarding the current review of library provision.
First of all, it is important to stress that at this stage we are considering a number of proposals and that any decisions will only be made by elected members once feedback from the public consultation has been analysed.
Following the decisions by members to review the service (November 2011) and to take proposals out to public consultation (June 2012), we are expecting to present the results of public consultation to them in the autumn.
The challenge presented to the Library and Information Service was to deliver a modern, vibrant library service within the resource available to use. We have therefore considered the need for, the usage of and the accessibility of the service across the whole of the Borough when drawing up proposals.
Proposals also take into account the Library and Information Service Strategy 2011-15, which was developed following public consultation and is available on the Library Service’s website. (www.rotherham.gov.uk/libraries). This also sets out the priorities for the service.
The context for the review is a recent period of positive investment in our library service in terms of bookfund, construction, modernisation, replacement and refurbishment including the opening of six new libraries in as many years. (Thorpe Hesley 2007, Wickersley 2008, Mowbray Gardens 2009, Aston 2010, Riverside and Rawmarsh 2012). We are proud of our library service in Rotherham and hope that this review will equip us to continue to provide a modern vibrant library service across the borough.
With regard to Wickersley Library specifically, the Council contributed around £570,000 to the cost of the capital development of the site and continues to support the service with an ongoing revenue contribution.
The proposals are based on an assessment of local need for the service, rather than purely current usage. This includes the development of a number of ‘hub’ sites across the Borough( currently proposed for Wath, Riverside House, Dinnington and Aston) These sites would have extended opening hours and also offer access to additional Council and partner services.
It has been demonstrated in the past, in a number of other local authority areas, that changes in opening hours can actually maintain or increase usage, so long as the hours are the right ones. So for example, if the library is very quiet on one day, then moving some of those hours to another day or evening could open it up to more people within the local community. As part of the consultation, we hope that local people will contribute their local knowledge/community background.
Thank you once again for your contributions to the debate so far. I hope that you will be available to attend on July 17 at Wickersley Library so that we can listen to and record your views on potential opening hours for Wickersley and all the Library Review proposals.
Manager : Library and Information Service
Environment and Development Services
Rotherham MBC ,3rd Floor, Wing A, Riverside House, Main Street
Rotherham S60 1AE