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Villagers threaten to boycott new library at Saxilby over staffing

By Lincolnshire Echo  |  Posted: March 22, 2012

  • Anger: Sue Smith and other concerned residents in Saxilby, above, are unhappy that the village’s new library will not employ the current staff.

  • The current library in Highfield Road, Saxilby

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Angry residents are threatening to boycott a new library in Saxilby.

The current facility in Highfield Road is set to be replaced by one at St Andrews Community Centre in the autumn.

But villagers have vowed not to use the facility. They argue the new site will no longer have the personal touch because all three of the current library's staff have been asked to work elsewhere.

Instead, the new library will be managed by bar staff already employed at the community centre. There will also be self-service machines.

Campaigners also say the use of a bar, local sports clubs and fitness classes at the centre will lead to noise and "rowdy behaviour".

Saxilby resident Sue Smith said: "We have a major concern about the current staff losing their jobs.

"Lincolnshire County Council said this (the new library) was good news but it isn't and the truth needs to be told.

"The librarians who currently work there give it that personal touch and that will be lost.

"The new library will be noisy and many of us don't want to have to walk through a bar full of people to get to read books. There is a real threat of people boycotting this new facility."

Currently, volunteers work two hours on a Wednesday morning at the library. At the new site, they are being asked to work 14 hours between them each week.

Volunteer Jane Kent now says she is considering quitting.

She said: "We were told at a meeting in September that we were not becoming volunteers to replace other people's actual jobs. That's the condition on which many of us agreed to do it."

Saxilby resident Elaine Parry said: "As far as I know the new facility is going to be a third of the size of the current one – what good is that?

"Where will all the books be kept? Without proper librarians, who is going to ensure books are well looked after? It's shocking."

Two weeks after saying the new library was a "win-win" situation, Eddy Poll, executive member for cultural services at Lincolnshire County Council, said: "The council's budget has been reduced by £125 million.

"This project is an opportunity to maintain library services in Saxilby while significantly reducing running costs.

"The new library will have greatly extended opening hours – something residents have been calling for.

"While we understand that a few of the volunteers may have concerns, we hope they will continue to work with ourselves and the parish council for the benefit of customers."

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  • Puriel  |  March 26 2012, 3:14PM

    The 'library' sound more like a sure start centre. Seems to me it would be better relocated anyway.

    |   -2
  • FreedomSpeech  |  March 24 2012, 10:51AM

    What would you have done differently had you'd been informed sooner? How would it have affected the outcome?

    |   -1
  • happy_mum_of3  |  March 23 2012, 11:34PM

    @ Saxilby_Mick & @ by FreedomSpeech Thanks for the advice, however please don't make assumptions. My comment merely stated that "the first I knew of the proposed changes was a statement given by the Parish Council to be printed in the Lincolnshire Echo". I did in fact read the same statement in The Foss Focus (which I receive each month) AFTER having seen the press release in The Lincolnshire Echo and via The Lincolnite. Surely the residents of Saxilby deserved to be informed of the Parish Council plans in advance of making a general press release and if the Council had wanted to be totally upfront about it why not publish the plans in the Library or the Pavilion? By the time the Foss Focus was available building work had already commenced in the Pavilion in preparation for the Library moving in.

    |   -5
  • Mr_Sneer  |  March 23 2012, 4:35PM

    "There was no mention in the parish magazine, the Foss Focus, about library staff not moving to the new premises with the library, and to describe it as a "win-win" situation in the circumstances was insensitive." How was it? They haven't lost their jobs, they've just been relocated. That's what happens sometimes. I mean, what were you expecting them to do, work there forever?

    |   3
  • Tangledup  |  March 23 2012, 12:16PM

    "Small libraries across the county are threatened with closure due to financial cutbacks and, in my opinion, it is far better to have a community library facility at the Sports Pavillion than not to have one at all." Saxilby_Mick you make a fair point here - at least your comments are sensible and worth making, unlike many of the negative comments made on here. The reason so many people are upset is that the council weren't completely open about what they were doing. They lied when asked outright by the volunteers about their plans. There was no mention in the parish magazine, the Foss Focus, about library staff not moving to the new premises with the library, and to describe it as a "win-win" situation in the circumstances was insensitive. Also, when I looked through the parish council minutes online, any time the library was mentioned it was discussed in closed session, so I didn't know what the plans were. You say the plans were made public in the minutes, but I didn't see that. And Puriel, babies have access to board books and picture books in libraries, and the library staff have been holding 'story-time' for pre-schoolers for many years. You don't have to be a gifted child to enjoy time spent in a library and develop a love of books.

    |   -8
  • FreedomSpeech  |  March 23 2012, 8:31AM

    "Details of this proposal have been reported in The Foss Focus parish magazine and in Saxilby Parish Council minutes - copies of which are both available for public inspection in Saxilby Library if you care to read them." Awww, Mick - you're ruining her faux outrage with your pesky facts. Meanie!

    |   3
  • Saxilby_Mick  |  March 23 2012, 8:08AM

    @ Happy Mum of Three "the first I knew of the proposed changes was a statement given by the Parish Council to be printed in the Lincolnshire Echo" Details of this proposal have been reported in The Foss Focus parish magazine and in Saxilby Parish Council minutes - copies of which are both available for public inspection in Saxilby Library if you care to read them.

    |   1
  • Puriel  |  March 23 2012, 6:27AM

    "I am the parent of 3 children and have regularly used the Saxilby library with them since they were born." They must be really gifted children.

  • camelherder  |  March 23 2012, 5:27AM

    One of the ladies seems quite happy with the closure and can be seen smiling in the photo while the others do the grim pose.

    |   -2
  • happy_mum_of3  |  March 22 2012, 4:57PM

    I am the parent of 3 children and have regularly used the Saxilby library with them since they were born. The staff who have worked there have always provided an excellent service and in its' current location I would have no hesitation in letting my children use the library independently as they get older - I would feel confident in the knowledge that there would be a known and responsible member of staff there to help them and ensure their safety. If the proposed changes were to go ahead I would not be happy to let my children visit the library on their own as accessing the books would mean navigating their way through a licensed bar, with the uncertainty of who would be there to assist them. A recent OFSTED report details the fact that there has been a decline in literacy and reading levels amongst British children - surely now more than ever there is a need for a suitably resourced and staffed library service. At the current time this is exactly what Saxilby has already. I feel very upset that as a resident of Saxilby the first I knew of the proposed changes was a statement given by the Parish Council to be printed in the Lincolnshire Echo. To bring about such a radical change in such an underhand way means that many local residents may be unaware about the extent of the changes - particularly the fact that the existing Library staff will not be moved to the new library with the service.

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