Fewer than three in a hundred people responding to Suffolk County Council’s libraries consultation supported the idea that they should be run by communities.
This is an extraordinary figure given that the questions asked were designed to elicit ideas for local management of libraries.
Out of 3,839 people responding, online or by completing paper forms, 3,099 (four out of five) simply stated they wanted libraries to continue to be run as they are by the county council.
Of the remaining 794 responses most suggested savings or fund raising ideas for the existing service.
Only 102 supported community groups: 2.6% of responses.
Yet the report to the council cabinet says (my emphasis):
There is some support for in-house delivery from library users and community groups.
This attempt to disguise the extent of opposition to the council’s plans (there is also a misleading chart in the documents) does not fill me with confidence about the way the the options being put forward will be evaluated.
James Hargrave has analysed the proposals being submitted to the council’s cabinet next week. He finds things are more complicated than last week’s “all libraries saved” headlines.
Links to documents also from James:
Suffolk’s vision for the future of libraries can be seen in the comprehensive 155 page document 2011 Review of Library Services (PDF 2.62Mb).
Their immediate plans can be seen in the Cabinet Papers for the 19th July meeting:
Library Service for the Future (DOC 111Kb)
Appendix 1: Consultation Results (DOC 113Kb)
Appendix 2: Options for Structural Model for Library Services (DOC 61Kb)
Appendix 3: Mobile Libraries, At Home Service and Community Outreach (DOC 78Kb)
Appendix 4: Statutory Duties (DOC 54Kb)