Sunday, 20 March 2011

'Save Oxfordshire Libraries'

The 20 threatened libraries have together created a new group, with the unofficial title, Save Oxfordshire Libraries. Although we have been communicating for some time, this new group brings together the 20 existing library campaigns, in order to build a shared approach and jointly discuss decisions. We would like to involve all 43 libraries throughout Oxfordshire, as cuts affect everyone, but this is still early days.
In addition, we have had other organisations asking for co-operation, including Voices for the Library: www.voicesforthelibrary.org.uk.
If you would like to give your occasional support, particularly in terms of time and expertise please do get in touch. The Save Oxfordshire Libraries group is currently looking for occasional volunteers for specific tasks. There will be no obligation or heavy commitment, so please do get in touch if you would like to offer your time: savekl2011@gmail.com

The Campaign Continues

Although everything seems to have gone quiet, things are still happening behind the scenes.
We have been busy helping to establish a new group that brings together all the libraries in Oxfordshire currently threatened with closure called ‘Save Oxfordshire Libraries'.
We have also been researching alternative plans, such as the Council’s idea to allow an American company, Library Systems & Services (LSSI), to run the libraries as a for-profit organisation. We are still trying to find out whether LSSI is fully aware of what the libraries (especially the rural ones) do, and whether our services would continue in their current form. LSSI is not the only company looking at the libraries.
Another important point is that the government may be considering removing or changing the law that requires it to provide library services to the public. This is all very uncertain at this stage, so we cannot comment yet.
The Council has promised a (real) consultation starting in April, and has assured us that all options will be considered. This is an improvement—thank you again, Kennington Residents, as this would not have happened without your support—so we should be able to enter into meaningful dialogue with all parties concerned very soon. We will be in touch as soon as we have more news.