The new consultation for the libraries was released at midday on 27th May and runs until 30th September.
The Campaign to Save Kennington Library and the Campaign to Save Oxfordshire Libraries have succeeded in saving Kennington Library, and indeed all Oxfordshire libraries, from closure, partly thanks to extra money that the government has provided.
But this would not have happened without the support of all of you in the village. Thank you and congratulations!
Contrary to the promises that the new consultation will consider all options and will consult with all affected parties, it lays down the decisions and conclusions of how the libraries will be run.
Levels of professional staffing will depend on the section to which a library is assigned. Core libraries will retain all funding; Community Plus libraries will lose a third of staff to be replaced by volunteers; the remainder will replace two-thirds of staff to be replaced by volunteers.
Kennington Library has been placed in the last group based on the radius of ½ mile; in other words, the library will need to replace two-thirds of the current staffing by volunteers.
We believe that Kennington Library has been unfairly banded, because of the shape of our village. The village is long and thin, sandwiched between the Thames and Bagley Wood, and so a ½ mile radius excludes a significant portion of the village. Kennington stretches from its northernmost point at Iffley Lock to its southernmost point at Sandford Lane. Stretching all libraries’ circles to a length of 1 mile raises Kennington 14 places in the library rankings.
This means that the focus of the Campaign to Save Kennington Library has changed. We no longer need to save the library itself; but we do need to save the services it currently provides.
If Kennington is placed in the Community Plus band, The Friends of Kennington Library feel confident that with additional annual fund-raising at our Literary Festival and some volunteering, we can continue to provide the full set of services and opening hours.
We are inviting our MP, Nicola Blackwood (who has already expressed an interest in speaking to us), and our councillor, Arash Fatemian, to meet with us to discuss the issue.
We may need your support in lobbying our elected representatives to support our case.
Please keep an eye on this blog or ask at your library for updates.