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Library update

Library Service Transformation – Latest News, as of 3 June 2015

The Library Service has now published a report on the initial consultation on their vision for developing its approach to the future.  The stated purpose was to get responses from organisations about the broad approaches outlined. In the event there were only 15 responses from organisations, but with 623 from individuals.

In summary the report states that the consultation yielded a mixed response with a significantly higher proportion of people disagreeing (57%) with the overall direction than agreeing (27.6%). However the report states that “the feedback was heavily weighted by the intense interest of Central Library users in relation to the Enterprise Centre proposals, and also the very high numbers responding from the Great Shelford area following a public meeting organised by the Friends of the Library.”  As far as Great Shelford is concerned this is a great outcome – your responses have been noticed!

The report states that “(The Library Service) will continue to engage with stakeholders throughout the summer, in particular district and parish councils…”

The report summary continues “It is expected that more detailed proposals will be discussed at the July meeting of Highways and Community Infrastructure Committee, followed by public and stakeholder consultation during July – September, with final proposals to be agreed at the Committee meeting in October as part of the Council’s business planning process.”

The report was presented to, and briefly discussed by, the CCC Highways and Community Infrastructure Committee on 2 June 2015. The Committee was asked to “note the results of the consultation”, i.e. not to vote on it.  Christine May stated that the responses had been mixed and somewhat contradictory but that there was a clear majority of respondents who wished to retain library services, with physical books (not e-books), who valued the expertise of librarians and were concerned that volunteers could not replace the existing provision.  There was no explanation as to why so few organisations had responded. She concluded that she may not be able to meet the planned schedule of presenting a detailed plan to the July meeting of the committee (Tuesday 7 July). There was a short discussion, and some councillors stated concern about the manner of the consultation, especially the fact that it had become embroiled with the proposed changes to the central library.  The large number of responses from Great Shelford area was again mentioned and the Library Service stated that it intended to give a breakdown of the postcodes of respondents where this had been given. There was also concern of lack of alternatives for cost savings.

In essence no decisions on the future have been announced so Great Shelford Library still remains at risk. Therefore we should continue to

·         keep in touch with our county, district and parish councillors to ensure that they are consulted and are accountable

·         ask the Library Service when and how the next phase of consultation will take place

·         be prepared to respond in even greater numbers when the next consultation takes place.

The report on the consultation and the full verbatim comments from respondents, split into the different sections as listed on the on-line questionnaire, can be viewed from the links at:

Alan Lyne
Friends of Great Shelford Library.