Messages featured on desks on entire floors of Croydon Central Library. (Courtesy of Save Croydon Libraries)
UPPER NORWOOD LIBRARY TO GO SELF-SERVICE?
UPPER NORWOOD LIBRARY could become self-service from next month.
The possible move – which follows a reported comment by Croydon council’s cabinet member for culture Cllr Timothy Godfrey that the library is expected to become a self-service facility from next month* – comes as:
- Upper Norwood library staff join a two-day UNISON strike today (Tuesday) and tomorrow to “save the libraries” of Lambeth
- Save Croydon Libraries slam Croydon council over their ‘Ambitious for the Library Service in Croydon’ plans, arguing that: “It’s not really clear how ambition features in what many view as a ‘fingers firmly plugged in the ears, hands firmly clasped across the eyes’ approach to tackling the issue at hand.”
- Upper Norwood library campaigner Robert Gibson, in a strongly-worded broadside, slams BOTH Lambeth and Croydon – Lambeth for “backing some back-of-an-envelope totally uncosted PR disaster” and Croydon for being about to follow Lambeth “blindly into the same mess.”. (see story below)
- Croydon council issue a questionnaire which, among other things, states: “We also welcome any ideas from individuals or groups who may be interested in taking on the running of one of our branch libraries.” (see story below)”LIBRARIES IN CROYDON HAVE CONTINUED TO FLOUNDER” – – CAMPAIGNERSCroydon’s ambition for libraries is on the line, say the Save Croydon Libraries campaign.Slamming Croydon council over their stance on libraries, the camaign say: “In opposition, Croydon Labour promised to rip up the library contract.”Their pre-election campaign was focussed on being ‘Ambitious for Croydon’. “Their manifesto said ‘Labour will seek to reverse the council’s sell-off of our libraries.'”But, once in power, Croydon Labour went rather quiet on the matter of ripping up the libraries contract.”
And, highlighting the title of Croydon’s latest library moves headed ‘Ambitious for the Library Service in Croydon’ Save Croydon libraries pointedly ask:
“Whatever happened to that ambition?
“In opposition, they were keen to seek the help and advice of Tim Coates. (national library campaigner – Ed.)
“In power, they didn’t even respond when they were advised that Tim had offered to travel to the UK, at his cost, to advise again on Croydon Libraries.
“That’s hardly ambitious.
“The libraries have continued to flounder – less stock, fewer staff, and appalling promotion of what Croydon libraries have to offer.
“Do you think this is at all ambitious for libraries?
“It’s not really clear how ambition features in what many view as a ‘fingers firmly plugged in the ears, hands firmly clasped across the eyes’ approach to tackling the issue at hand.
“Rather than rip up the contract with Carillion, or hold Carillion to account for the service they are contracted to offer, Croydon Council has come up with…Ambitious for Libraries.”
The plan which went to Croydon’s cabinet meeting last night (Monday 21 March) includes a consultation period from today (22 March) through to May 2, 2016. (see questionnaire in separate item)
“When asked what people thought previously, Croydon residents gave a clear message.
“Croydon residents valued their libraries and the experienced staff that delivered the service so well; a service now ripped to shreds by privatisation. “They did not want to run their libraries, nor feel equipped to do so.
“Whether or not the current administration is really ambitious to address the steep decline in Croydon library services, only time will tell.
“Let’s hope for proper consultation this time round.”
Save Croydon Libraries are a campaign group of residents, originally set up to save Sanderstead library and to maintain a professional service at our much loved and well used community library. The campaign has grown wider to include ALL Croydon libraries as they are now under threat, says the campaign’s website..
* Croydon Guardian website March 4th 2016.