Thursday, 6 March 2014
Tuesday, 4 March 2014
"Why have the Tories suddenly become interested in 'mutuals'" i hear you ask, "surely they can't be seriously interested in promoting the co-operative and collective spirit?" Well the following definition, from their website, might give you a clue;
"A public service mutual is an organisation which has left the public sector (also known as ‘spinning out’) but continues to deliver public services"
Has it become any clearer? They are interested in shrinking the state and 'spinning out' or outsourcing or privatising as many public services as they can in order to do so. It's not a 'road to Damascus' moment when they suddenly say "we need to embrace worker control for the good of society" it's a cynical and ideological attempt to shrink the state and to introduce more private finance and risk into public services at the same time making more money for themselves and their mates who just happen to control/own most of the private finance. And private finance has to be serviced which means more outsourcing, privatisation, procurement and commercialisation. Clever eh?
Add to this concerns about democratic member control, privatisation and democratic accountability and sustainability and you might start to see why I'm, and the unions are, not exactly jumping up and down with joy when to hear about York Libraries and Archives going down this route. And the incredible thing is that all this is being pushed through to save a paltry £450K over 3 years, that's the councillors fag money! And oh yes i forgot to mention that they've received £100k from the governement to do this!
"But isn't it better than closing libraries and staff losing their jobs or handing them over to volunteers?"
To be honest I'm fed up with this response, it suggests that as a profession, service and society we are happy to except that 'anything is better than nothing', even when it's a crucial public service that we have spent decades fighting to improve and sustain and that we already pay for.
I can fully understand the passion and commitment of the staff involved and wouldn't like to be in their position but just like communities forced to take on the running of libraries it's a gun to the head. The management, council and government will try to spin it as being 'innovative' but really it's a desperate response to savage ideological cuts.
Saturday, 1 March 2014
Wednesday, 26 February 2014
Friday, 21 February 2014
"But" i hear you say "at this moment any research into the impact of public libraries is worthwhile", well is it?
Over the last 10-20 years there have been a multitude (20+?) of reports, inquiries, consultations into public libraries all backed up by research, some good some bad, and in the first stage of their programme ACE intend to pull this research together, but why concentrate on 'economic impact'?
Thursday, 13 February 2014
Just when we were thinking (or hoping) that Ed had washed his hands off libraries he pops up all over the place, first in Corby, visits a couple of libraries, with Cllrs Savage (very apt!) and Harker in tow and then declares that;
Sunday, 9 February 2014
Anyway it seems that Carillion are cutting up to eight 'professional' library posts in Croydon, four at the Central Library and another four across the branches. All this just weeks after buying the contract from JLIS, who had already warned of 're-structuring' (the management term for hollowing out). From what I've heard the service is already at breaking point with even the LMS breaking down and staff having to manually check books and other stock items in and out, so will these cuts bring it to its knees?
As I've said before i can only offer my condolences to the long suffering users and staff, public libraries are crucial statutory public services and shouldn't be bought and sold, they are far too important for that.