Monday, 4 April 2011

Keith Mitchell Scraps Plans for Closure

Good news, Keith Mitchell, Leader of the Oxford County Council has decided to scrap his initial plans to close libraries and instead is looking for new ideas to spread the cuts across all the libraries in Oxfordshire — see coverage in Oxford Times.

However, as the Summertown Library campaign blog states, the County Council is still not ruling out:
  1. Contracting out the library to a for-profit business. This has proved unpopular with many users in the USA and has limited experience in the UK. We are investigating this option.
  2. Implementing the impracticable concept of Community Libraries staffed by volunteers (a plan which most of our members believe will not work).
  3. Closing some libraries and curtailing library services.
  4. Introducing self-service schemes without librarians.
  5. Transferring libraries from existing buildings — some of which we suspect they plan to sell.
It is great news that all the campaign work has meant the Council is now rethinking its plans. Nevertheless we still await the consultation documents in order to see the tone of the discussion and new suggestions. These documents are planned to appear in May.

As the cliché goes, we have won the battle but not the war. We shouldn't allow this minor victory to distract us from our commitment to stop the closure of libraries in Oxfordshire.

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