Support Your Local Librarian!

January 11, 2011

It’s fair to say that Doncaster’s completely inadequate council haven’t got a great track record when it comes to supporting communities. Their mismanagement of the Earth Centre to the tune of £100,000,000 means that the people of Denaby and Conisbrough already find it hard to fund other community projects – and now the council want to shut their libraries!

Picture from Save Doncaster Libraries

Denaby and Conisbrough libraries are among the 14 local branches earmarked for closure by Doncaster council as it tries to save money thanks to the Coalition’s devastating public spending cuts. The council allege that they’re targeting libraries in our region which are ‘under used’, but Save Doncaster Libraries refute this claim:

This is simply not the case. Cantley Library, for example, is an incredibly well-used library which serves a huge area including Cantley, Branton, Auckley, Finningley and Blaxton, yet is under threat of closure. If any libraries are under-used, it is because their opening hours and resources do not meet the needs of their communities. This is due to poor management by the council and a lack of promotion of the role and resources of the library service, not a lack of need from the people of Doncaster. Julie Grant, Assistant Director of Customer Strategy and Development admits in the Library Service Review itself that:

“We recognise that our marketing and outreach resources are insufficient to have real impact.”

So we’ll say it again: the closures are based on cost-cutting alone, the review is a sham, and the changes and the proposals do not take into account the needs of communities or the value of libraries.

As we’ve said before the only real way to fight the coalitions devastating attacks on community life (it’s ironic that their proposed ‘Big Society’ is going to be used to decimate ‘Small Community’) is to focus the remaining public funds and existing resources on the development of a sustainable and self-sufficient local infrastructure.

Doncaster has an incredibly rich and varied resource base – fertile agricultural areas, strong centralised transport links, vast swathes of council/public owned land, an abundance of brownfield sites, several unique ecologies, an industrious if undervalued populace, etc, etc – which should make us one of the richest regions rather than the poorest. The only reason we’re not thriving is because central government – both Tory and Labour – have continuously dis-empowered local government – and local government has consistently aided and abetted them!

The economic crisis, combined with peak-oil and climate change, now makes greater localisation a vital imperative. The council should focus its expenditure on promoting locally produced energy, food and resources rather than the appeasement of central government and big business. This would allow more money to circulate for longer within our communities, which would in turn protect people during the hard times ahead. We need to become ever less reliant on an ever less reliable government.

In order to do this we must develop the relevant knowledge and skills within our communities. And local libraries would be perfect for such an endeavor!

Libraries are not just about literacy – though Doncaster has such a low literacy rate that this alone should be reason to keep them open – they’re about knowledge and communication – which will be vital to the creation of a self-reliant future.

Offer your support and keep track of the situation in Doncaster here – http://savedoncasterlibraries.wordpress.com/

See a map of cuts and proposed cuts to libraries here – http://falseeconomy.org.uk/blog/library-closures-the-full-infuriating-picture

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2 Responses to “Support Your Local Librarian!”

  1. Lynne said

    I don’t know who you are but I think I love you ;D

  2. […] 2011 The newly emerging Doncaster based group, The PermaFuture Project, were so concerned about the propoasal to close 14 local libraries in the Doncaster region that they’ve decided to launch a blog ahead of time to help raise […]

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