For those unfamiliar with the Barnet Libraries debacle please watch this short animation which details the plans for our fantastic Library Service.
Keith Martin for local government worker, resident and long standing Libraries campaigner wrote a response to the Local Times newspaper survey “Have your say over Barnet future Library service” http://www.times-series.co.uk/news/14528718.Have_your_say_over_Barnet___s_future_library_service/
Keith has given permission to share his response with our members in the Library Service.
“Would I volunteer?”
“Mrs Angry expresses my views succinctly in her Broken Barnet blog.
- Half the staff will be losing their livelihoods,
- You cannot replace professional library staff with volunteers,
- The proposals amount to the virtual destruction of the library service,
- Shrinking libraries, halving the book stock, the highly risky use of unstaffed DIY libraries. All are dangerous, stupid gambles.
- What next?
- Why not instead cut the massive allowances and perks received by councillors?
- Now the view from me. I have been a library volunteer at Friern Barnet Community Library for nearly four years now, initially at the invitation of Phoenix and the squatters who began their occupation on 5 September 2012. My experiences are recorded in my book Friern Barnet – the library that refused to close. I was a co-defendant with the squatters in the action by Barnet Council for their eviction in December 2012, and one of the original band of trustees appointed by the community to run the library in succession to the squatters.
Would I volunteer for Reuben Thompstone’s plans to reshape the library service; to harness Barnet’s community spirit?
Would I thus be a party to putting chartered librarians and other professional library staff on the dole, after they have attempted to train unskilled volunteers such as myself to replace them? Would I be a party to actions which have as their goal the closure of libraries and the wrecking of educational opportunities to schoolchildren which generations of library users have benefitted from as their birthright?
No, I would not.
This is why I am active in the campaign to save not only libraries in Barnet but throughout the United Kingdom.