Anxious wait over job cuts at libraries

The Northern Echo: Anxious wait over job cuts at libraries Anxious wait over job cuts at libraries

HUNDREDS of workers face an anxious wait for news about their jobs, after the North-East’s largest council unveiled plans to slash library opening hours.

Labour-run Durham County Council wants to cut opening hours at all but one of its libraries – some by more than half – before outsourcing their management to a nonprofit- making trust.

Last night, the council said 250 staff, in the equivalent of 134 full-time posts, could be affected, but it was too early to say how many jobs would be lost.

Neville Hancock, from trade union Unison, said since the news broke about library hours cuts he had been inundated with calls from worried library workers. “We’re glad there’s a commitment to retaining a library service. In other areas, there’s been blanket shutdown.

“But we need to see the detail – what comes out of the consultation and what the knock-on effect will be. I hope the authority will listen to the wishes of communities.”

Next week, the council’s cabinet is expected to approve a 12-week public consultation about the changes, beginning on Monday, February 6.

A report released ahead of the meeting says all library service staff, except managers who have already been consulted about the reorganisation of their responsibilities, would be affected by the proposals and consultation on the “human resource implications”

is planned.

Hoping to save nearly £1.5m, the council plans to cut opening hours to 36 a week at 11 town centre libraries and 20 a week at 28 community libraries.

Only Clayport, in Durham, would not be affected.

The service provided by five mobile libraries would also be cut – to stopping only once in each village and where the nearest library is more than four miles away.

The council, which faces cuts of nearly £150m over the next four years, is meanwhile contemplating outsourcing management of 39 libraries, 15 leisure centres, two theatres, two museums, the Lamplight Arts Centre, in Stanley, and more to an arms-length trust.

Mr Hancock said Unison would have preferred the services to be delivered by committed public sector workers, but in the current economic climate other options had to be considered.

Options are to be discussed at County Hall, on Wednesday.

Comments (9)

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9:11am Thu 19 Jan 12

Shirley Burnham says...

It does not sound as though you will have a decent Library Service if all this goes through. A library without its excellent paid staff is just a room with books in it : soulless, unwelcoming, uninformative. Homework clubs; story-times for children; adult and children's literacy groups; computer assistance and a dozen other roles are provided seamlessly by library staff, but are now under threat. All in all, a nightmarish scenario awaits you, unless a valiant effort is made by the public defend this statutory, essential service.
It does not sound as though you will have a decent Library Service if all this goes through. A library without its excellent paid staff is just a room with books in it : soulless, unwelcoming, uninformative. Homework clubs; story-times for children; adult and children's literacy groups; computer assistance and a dozen other roles are provided seamlessly by library staff, but are now under threat. All in all, a nightmarish scenario awaits you, unless a valiant effort is made by the public defend this statutory, essential service. Shirley Burnham
  • Score: 0

10:28am Thu 19 Jan 12

GeordieB says...

This seems like a 'managed decline'.

If you cut hours, you cut usage.

If usage goes down, it helps the case for closure.

What will happen to all the fascinating books about the history of County Durham in the County Reserve. Nobody else will keep them.

The move by DCC is an outrage against intelligence and education
This seems like a 'managed decline'. If you cut hours, you cut usage. If usage goes down, it helps the case for closure. What will happen to all the fascinating books about the history of County Durham in the County Reserve. Nobody else will keep them. The move by DCC is an outrage against intelligence and education GeordieB
  • Score: 0

11:57am Thu 19 Jan 12

sherburn says...

The problem is though GeordieB there is no intelligence and education from this cabinet they are a joke and overpaid I ask them the Question again when will their jobs have their salaries down graded
The problem is though GeordieB there is no intelligence and education from this cabinet they are a joke and overpaid I ask them the Question again when will their jobs have their salaries down graded sherburn
  • Score: 0

3:30pm Thu 19 Jan 12

Jolly Roger says...

Well I certainly don't get value for money out of this council.

The only perks in my village is our bins are emptied once a week going on every second week in April and a library.

Not leisure centre paid by DCC.

So I would say to DDC Councillors get a grip and practise what you preach by cutting you allowances as you all have computers paid by us so do you council work from home, saving travel allowances and since you are in charge get rid of those in the office who seems to be doing your work for you.

This will save millions.

But as I have saiid before sell some of our painting was are stuck in vaults etc and not on public view and this way no job library or anything else need to be scrapped just for your egro trip.

The sooner you do this the better we will cope.

Rant over by a discussed Durham County Council Tax Payers.

Because I am not getting value from you can my Council Tax be reduced.
Well I certainly don't get value for money out of this council. The only perks in my village is our bins are emptied once a week going on every second week in April and a library. Not leisure centre paid by DCC. So I would say to DDC Councillors get a grip and practise what you preach by cutting you allowances as you all have computers paid by us so do you council work from home, saving travel allowances and since you are in charge get rid of those in the office who seems to be doing your work for you. This will save millions. But as I have saiid before sell some of our painting was are stuck in vaults etc and not on public view and this way no job library or anything else need to be scrapped just for your egro trip. The sooner you do this the better we will cope. Rant over by a discussed Durham County Council Tax Payers. Because I am not getting value from you can my Council Tax be reduced. Jolly Roger
  • Score: 0

8:37pm Thu 19 Jan 12

D D Coy says...

Basically the cabinet of DCC is admitting failure at its attempt to manage the finance and the restructuring of DCC & its Leader has since 2008 to come up with a strategy to reduce the waste on front-line services & at management level.

They seem to be attempting to offload traditional core services of any Local Authority.

Ultimately DCC is being dissolved, will traditional Labour Councillors allow it to happen?

One thing is certain DCC is deep in crisis.!
Basically the cabinet of DCC is admitting failure at its attempt to manage the finance and the restructuring of DCC & its Leader has since 2008 to come up with a strategy to reduce the waste on front-line services & at management level. They seem to be attempting to offload traditional core services of any Local Authority. Ultimately DCC is being dissolved, will traditional Labour Councillors allow it to happen? One thing is certain DCC is deep in crisis.! D D Coy
  • Score: 0

8:58pm Thu 19 Jan 12

the-big-yin says...

THIS COUNCIL IS A DISGRACE!!!
THEY SHOULD TRY LISTENING TO THE PEOPLE OF COUNTY DURHAM...THEY PAY THEMSELVES A FORTUNE AND ARE TOO BUSY CREATING LOADS OF STUPID JOB TITLED VACANCIES....THEY NEED TO CUT BACK ON THE WORK FORCE WHO YOU USUALLY SEE SKIVING IN BACK STREETS OR PICNIC AREAS...THEY HAVE AMENITY WORKERS WHO DO NOTHING OVER THE WINTER MONTHS...LAY THE WORKERS YOU DO NOT NEED OFF...THEY DO NOT WANT TO DO ANYTHING THAT IS EASY BUT PREFER TO CUT WHAT THE TAX PAYERS OF THIS GREAT COUNTY NEED..
REMEMBER DO NOT VOTE THESE IDIOTS BACK IN AT THE NEXT ELECTIONS...CHANGE YOUR COUNCILLORS AT THE NEXT ELECTION...THEY ALL SEEM TO SAY ONE THING THEN BACKTRACK AND DO THE OPPOSITE...VOLUNTEER
S CANNOT RUN LIBRARIES AND OTHER IMPORTANT SERVICES....LISTEN TO THE PEOPLE YOU BUNCH OF HYPOCRITICAL MORONS....OH!! I FORGOT !!! BETTER JUST PROTECT YOUR OWN JOBS!!!! COUNCIL WORKERS...JOBS FOR THE BOYS FOR LIFE!!!!!!
THIS COUNCIL IS A DISGRACE!!! THEY SHOULD TRY LISTENING TO THE PEOPLE OF COUNTY DURHAM...THEY PAY THEMSELVES A FORTUNE AND ARE TOO BUSY CREATING LOADS OF STUPID JOB TITLED VACANCIES....THEY NEED TO CUT BACK ON THE WORK FORCE WHO YOU USUALLY SEE SKIVING IN BACK STREETS OR PICNIC AREAS...THEY HAVE AMENITY WORKERS WHO DO NOTHING OVER THE WINTER MONTHS...LAY THE WORKERS YOU DO NOT NEED OFF...THEY DO NOT WANT TO DO ANYTHING THAT IS EASY BUT PREFER TO CUT WHAT THE TAX PAYERS OF THIS GREAT COUNTY NEED.. REMEMBER DO NOT VOTE THESE IDIOTS BACK IN AT THE NEXT ELECTIONS...CHANGE YOUR COUNCILLORS AT THE NEXT ELECTION...THEY ALL SEEM TO SAY ONE THING THEN BACKTRACK AND DO THE OPPOSITE...VOLUNTEER S CANNOT RUN LIBRARIES AND OTHER IMPORTANT SERVICES....LISTEN TO THE PEOPLE YOU BUNCH OF HYPOCRITICAL MORONS....OH!! I FORGOT !!! BETTER JUST PROTECT YOUR OWN JOBS!!!! COUNCIL WORKERS...JOBS FOR THE BOYS FOR LIFE!!!!!! the-big-yin
  • Score: 0

9:51pm Thu 19 Jan 12

pilchrat says...

All I'll say is I wish this council hadn't gone unitary. It's too big, it's too bulky, and all it's done recently is cut the services you actually want (eg leisure). If Wear Valley District Council had still been here I bet Bishop Auckland wouldn't be going right down the swannie right now and Glenholme leisure centre would still be open.

Funny how Durham Clayport will be unaffected ... about right. Basically Durham Council is for Durham. New HQ for the Police. New bypass around Durham. New home for County Hall. Investment galore in precious Durham City whilst the rest of the County loses vital services.

Bring back the District Councils!!
All I'll say is I wish this council hadn't gone unitary. It's too big, it's too bulky, and all it's done recently is cut the services you actually want (eg leisure). If Wear Valley District Council had still been here I bet Bishop Auckland wouldn't be going right down the swannie right now and Glenholme leisure centre would still be open. Funny how Durham Clayport will be unaffected ... about right. Basically Durham Council is for Durham. New HQ for the Police. New bypass around Durham. New home for County Hall. Investment galore in precious Durham City whilst the rest of the County loses vital services. Bring back the District Councils!! pilchrat
  • Score: 0

2:23pm Fri 20 Jan 12

cllrmarkwilkes says...

pilchrat wrote:
All I'll say is I wish this council hadn't gone unitary. It's too big, it's too bulky, and all it's done recently is cut the services you actually want (eg leisure). If Wear Valley District Council had still been here I bet Bishop Auckland wouldn't be going right down the swannie right now and Glenholme leisure centre would still be open.

Funny how Durham Clayport will be unaffected ... about right. Basically Durham Council is for Durham. New HQ for the Police. New bypass around Durham. New home for County Hall. Investment galore in precious Durham City whilst the rest of the County loses vital services.

Bring back the District Councils!!
Durham Clayport isn't affected because it has already seen its hours and staffing cut substantially a few months ago.
[quote][p][bold]pilchrat[/bold] wrote: All I'll say is I wish this council hadn't gone unitary. It's too big, it's too bulky, and all it's done recently is cut the services you actually want (eg leisure). If Wear Valley District Council had still been here I bet Bishop Auckland wouldn't be going right down the swannie right now and Glenholme leisure centre would still be open. Funny how Durham Clayport will be unaffected ... about right. Basically Durham Council is for Durham. New HQ for the Police. New bypass around Durham. New home for County Hall. Investment galore in precious Durham City whilst the rest of the County loses vital services. Bring back the District Councils!![/p][/quote]Durham Clayport isn't affected because it has already seen its hours and staffing cut substantially a few months ago. cllrmarkwilkes
  • Score: 0

12:49pm Sat 21 Jan 12

a mum etherley says...

Has anyone at County Hall or at any level given a thought as to how this will affect all the school children who visit the library on weekdays as a class. Many libraries have class visits and work with schools on a daily basis. This encourages the children to read and encourages them to come into the library. Many schols no longer have a library ( due to cuts ). To cut some libraries hours so drastically would be extremely detremental to any schoolchild and for them to be restricted to the hours they can come into a library to do their homework is criminal. The children of today are the future and should be given access to these services. Not all kids are bad - and even the bad ones can change.
Libraries will not have time to be involved in all the "extras" they do with the community and various groups, so how they can warrent calling them Community Libraries is ludicrous.
Has anyone at County Hall or at any level given a thought as to how this will affect all the school children who visit the library on weekdays as a class. Many libraries have class visits and work with schools on a daily basis. This encourages the children to read and encourages them to come into the library. Many schols no longer have a library ( due to cuts ). To cut some libraries hours so drastically would be extremely detremental to any schoolchild and for them to be restricted to the hours they can come into a library to do their homework is criminal. The children of today are the future and should be given access to these services. Not all kids are bad - and even the bad ones can change. Libraries will not have time to be involved in all the "extras" they do with the community and various groups, so how they can warrent calling them Community Libraries is ludicrous. a mum etherley
  • Score: 0

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