Radical plan aims to safeguard York libraries

York Press: The York Explore Centre in Library Square The York Explore Centre in Library Square

YORK’S libraries could be the first in the country to be run by a social enterprise.

Council chiefs are to investigate the development of a mutual organisation, following warnings from senior councillor Sonja Crisp that the existing council-run service is “not viable in the long term” given ongoing Government funding cuts.

Officials are to start detailed work on a business and financial plan, assisted by expert advice and support from the Cabinet Office through a scheme to support imaginative solutions to future budget pressures.

The council says the aim is to build a library service that gives the staff and the community a clearer stake in the service, helps build innovative partnerships and opens up access to new sources of income.

York has 15 libraries, including the recently refurbished York Explore, in Library Square in the city centre.

But the proposals have been blasted by Coun Nigel Ayre, Liberal Democrat spokesperson for leisure and culture, who said his worst fears appeared to have been realised.

He claimed: “Labour has decided to sell off libraries without proper public debate or scrutiny.

“We have not seen any details of the plans, the support on offer from the Cabinet Office, or any feedback from the public consultation.

“There appears to be no guarantee that all libraries will remain open or existing staff and service levels will be maintained.

“Urgent answers are needed as to what, if any, public library service will remain in York after Labour has finished with it.”

Coun Crisp, the council’s cabinet member for culture, leisure and tourism, said public libraries were vitally important. “Their work on literacy, employability, digital inclusion and promoting the joy of reading are key to the community they sit in; providing a welcoming community space for all,” she said.

“Continuing to run York’s library service as it is currently structured is not viable in the long term; with ongoing Government funding reductions: we have seen closures happening across the region.

“York is committed to supporting exemplary and innovative libraries and explore centres, and we feel a mutual approach is a way of doing this.”

The city’s libraries are thought to employ up to about 100 people across the city, including many part-time staff.

Social enterprises have explicit social aims such as job creation, training or the provision of local services.

They have ethical values and their profits are principally reinvested to achieve their social aims. They can be directly involved in business activity, supplying goods or services to a market and can earn incomes as a result.

City of York Council has stressed that it has not yet decided on the details of how a libraries social enterprise would work.

Comments (9)

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10:54am Tue 18 Dec 12

bolero says...

Who messed about with our Public Libraries in the first place? They were well run, well stocked and well used. A valuable asset valued by the local communities which are now no more than glorified playrooms totally unsuitable to the vast majority of those who would wish to put them to the use for which they were originally intended. They were places of quiet, where one could study, research or simply find a peaceful haven to have a read. If it 'aint broke don't mend it. Give us our Public Libraries back and stop wasting even more of our money on consultation which is totally unnecessary. Why not ask the Council Tax payers what they want? Are you frightened of the answer?
Who messed about with our Public Libraries in the first place? They were well run, well stocked and well used. A valuable asset valued by the local communities which are now no more than glorified playrooms totally unsuitable to the vast majority of those who would wish to put them to the use for which they were originally intended. They were places of quiet, where one could study, research or simply find a peaceful haven to have a read. If it 'aint broke don't mend it. Give us our Public Libraries back and stop wasting even more of our money on consultation which is totally unnecessary. Why not ask the Council Tax payers what they want? Are you frightened of the answer? bolero
  • Score: 0

11:09am Tue 18 Dec 12

bob the builder says...

bolero wrote:
Who messed about with our Public Libraries in the first place? They were well run, well stocked and well used. A valuable asset valued by the local communities which are now no more than glorified playrooms totally unsuitable to the vast majority of those who would wish to put them to the use for which they were originally intended. They were places of quiet, where one could study, research or simply find a peaceful haven to have a read. If it 'aint broke don't mend it. Give us our Public Libraries back and stop wasting even more of our money on consultation which is totally unnecessary. Why not ask the Council Tax payers what they want? Are you frightened of the answer?
Spot on - the main library is full of kids on mobile phones and laptops and there are less books than in Waterstones. What a waste of money restyling was. If the council was honest it would come out and say it can't afford all the services it provides and look to cut the least used that does least harm to the community. Before doing so it would also scrutinise what is was paying to managers and above, and councillors expenses before doing so.
[quote][p][bold]bolero[/bold] wrote: Who messed about with our Public Libraries in the first place? They were well run, well stocked and well used. A valuable asset valued by the local communities which are now no more than glorified playrooms totally unsuitable to the vast majority of those who would wish to put them to the use for which they were originally intended. They were places of quiet, where one could study, research or simply find a peaceful haven to have a read. If it 'aint broke don't mend it. Give us our Public Libraries back and stop wasting even more of our money on consultation which is totally unnecessary. Why not ask the Council Tax payers what they want? Are you frightened of the answer?[/p][/quote]Spot on - the main library is full of kids on mobile phones and laptops and there are less books than in Waterstones. What a waste of money restyling was. If the council was honest it would come out and say it can't afford all the services it provides and look to cut the least used that does least harm to the community. Before doing so it would also scrutinise what is was paying to managers and above, and councillors expenses before doing so. bob the builder
  • Score: 0

11:37am Tue 18 Dec 12

Ignatius Lumpopo says...

It's 'fewer books', not 'less books' - but otherwise absolutely right.

And I suppose it beats having them run by an antisocial enterprise...
It's 'fewer books', not 'less books' - but otherwise absolutely right. And I suppose it beats having them run by an antisocial enterprise... Ignatius Lumpopo
  • Score: 0

11:44am Tue 18 Dec 12

Sillybillies says...

bolero says...
10:54am Tue 18 Dec 12

Who messed about with our Public Libraries in the first place? They were well run, well stocked and well used. A valuable asset valued by the local communities which are now no more than glorified playrooms totally unsuitable to the vast majority of those who would wish to put them to the use for which they were originally intended. They were places of quiet, where one could study, research or simply find a peaceful haven to have a read. If it 'aint broke don't mend it. Give us our Public Libraries back and stop wasting even more of our money on consultation which is totally unnecessary. Why not ask the Council Tax payers what they want? Are you frightened of the answer?

Correct, either put them back to what they were - proper libraries, or flog them off and save our money.
[quote]bolero says... 10:54am Tue 18 Dec 12 Who messed about with our Public Libraries in the first place? They were well run, well stocked and well used. A valuable asset valued by the local communities which are now no more than glorified playrooms totally unsuitable to the vast majority of those who would wish to put them to the use for which they were originally intended. They were places of quiet, where one could study, research or simply find a peaceful haven to have a read. If it 'aint broke don't mend it. Give us our Public Libraries back and stop wasting even more of our money on consultation which is totally unnecessary. Why not ask the Council Tax payers what they want? Are you frightened of the answer?[/quote] Correct, either put them back to what they were - proper libraries, or flog them off and save our money. Sillybillies
  • Score: 0

12:26pm Tue 18 Dec 12

meme says...

possibly if they were not paying a 'lving' rather than 'miminum' wage to staff then there would be more money to go around
But they can find hundreds of thousands for an art barge, money to waste on reports such as LOTS,architectural competitions on Mansion Hse,£40 million plus on new HQ which looks more and more oversized as the days go by,etc etc..When will priorites be sorted?
possibly if they were not paying a 'lving' rather than 'miminum' wage to staff then there would be more money to go around But they can find hundreds of thousands for an art barge, money to waste on reports such as LOTS,architectural competitions on Mansion Hse,£40 million plus on new HQ which looks more and more oversized as the days go by,etc etc..When will priorites be sorted? meme
  • Score: 0

12:33pm Tue 18 Dec 12

Zetkin says...

This isn't a radical plan, it's a reactionary one.

Yet again Labour responds to ConDem cuts by rushing to privatise, instead of standing up and fighting back.
This isn't a radical plan, it's a reactionary one. Yet again Labour responds to ConDem cuts by rushing to privatise, instead of standing up and fighting back. Zetkin
  • Score: 0

1:30pm Wed 19 Dec 12

bloodaxe says...

meme wrote:
possibly if they were not paying a 'lving' rather than 'miminum' wage to staff then there would be more money to go around
But they can find hundreds of thousands for an art barge, money to waste on reports such as LOTS,architectural competitions on Mansion Hse,£40 million plus on new HQ which looks more and more oversized as the days go by,etc etc..When will priorites be sorted?
Absolutely right. Spot on. Why pay wages at all. Just a few cans of beans and some cornflakes ought to provide enough sustenance to staff. Why not go further and force them to work for absolutely nothing, then they would starve and be less of a burden on society. You're not UKIP are you ? As for things being sorted, cultural projects pay for themselves over and again. The new HQ will save money in the longer term and allow the dreadful St Leonard's Place to be refurbished. As things were, inadequate facilities had to be leased. If you lived in places where services have been slashed to the bone then you'd know how lucky you are to live in York. Newcastle City Council is slashing its entire arts budget and the city will be the poorer, not richer, for it.
[quote][p][bold]meme[/bold] wrote: possibly if they were not paying a 'lving' rather than 'miminum' wage to staff then there would be more money to go around But they can find hundreds of thousands for an art barge, money to waste on reports such as LOTS,architectural competitions on Mansion Hse,£40 million plus on new HQ which looks more and more oversized as the days go by,etc etc..When will priorites be sorted?[/p][/quote]Absolutely right. Spot on. Why pay wages at all. Just a few cans of beans and some cornflakes ought to provide enough sustenance to staff. Why not go further and force them to work for absolutely nothing, then they would starve and be less of a burden on society. You're not UKIP are you ? As for things being sorted, cultural projects pay for themselves over and again. The new HQ will save money in the longer term and allow the dreadful St Leonard's Place to be refurbished. As things were, inadequate facilities had to be leased. If you lived in places where services have been slashed to the bone then you'd know how lucky you are to live in York. Newcastle City Council is slashing its entire arts budget and the city will be the poorer, not richer, for it. bloodaxe
  • Score: 0

6:21pm Wed 19 Dec 12

yorkshirelad says...

Everyone knows we have an economic downturn widespread across the world. What is clear though and will haunt both Tories and Lib Dems for years is the barely concealed political agenda in where the cuts will be made.

They are simply hitting the poorest hardest and forcing councils to make unpalatable decisions.

So while public services get cut, large corporations continue to make huge profits and laugh in the face of the public (mugs like you and me who pay our taxes). The banks have never paid the price for the chaos they created and the champagne fuelled partying will no doubt go on as usual in the City of London and in the shires the bankers go home to.

The recession has certainly brought out the real side of the Tories and, knowing how it is hitting low paid workers and those on benefits hardest, mean spirited comments (see above re the minimum wage) are a particularly nasty feature.

After this government, we'll have to reconstruct public services that they hope they will have damaged for good.
Everyone knows we have an economic downturn widespread across the world. What is clear though and will haunt both Tories and Lib Dems for years is the barely concealed political agenda in where the cuts will be made. They are simply hitting the poorest hardest and forcing councils to make unpalatable decisions. So while public services get cut, large corporations continue to make huge profits and laugh in the face of the public (mugs like you and me who pay our taxes). The banks have never paid the price for the chaos they created and the champagne fuelled partying will no doubt go on as usual in the City of London and in the shires the bankers go home to. The recession has certainly brought out the real side of the Tories and, knowing how it is hitting low paid workers and those on benefits hardest, mean spirited comments (see above re the minimum wage) are a particularly nasty feature. After this government, we'll have to reconstruct public services that they hope they will have damaged for good. yorkshirelad
  • Score: 0

2:43am Fri 21 Dec 12

Magicman! says...

All the tories ever do is sell of bits of Britain and bits of our society so they can continue to get financial support from the big corporations who just happen to not have as much tax levvied on them as they should have. What's astounding though is that some people actually VOTED for the tories in the last election!

Council chiefs are to investigate the development of a mutual organisation, following warnings from senior councillor Sonja Crisp that the existing council-run service is “not viable in the long term” given ongoing Government funding cuts.

Isn't this the same coun Sonja Crisp that is trying to railroad everybody into driving slower at a cost of several hundred thousand pounds to taxpayers? So she's busy scuttling away with a hairbrained scheme like that whilst our libraries might end up closed as people like this can't put two and two together and decide "Actually the money would be better spent here"
All the tories ever do is sell of bits of Britain and bits of our society so they can continue to get financial support from the big corporations who just happen to not have as much tax levvied on them as they should have. What's astounding though is that some people actually VOTED for the tories in the last election! [quote]Council chiefs are to investigate the development of a mutual organisation, following warnings from senior councillor Sonja Crisp that the existing council-run service is “not viable in the long term” given ongoing Government funding cuts. [/quote] Isn't this the same coun Sonja Crisp that is trying to railroad everybody into driving slower at a cost of several hundred thousand pounds to taxpayers? So she's busy scuttling away with a hairbrained scheme like that whilst our libraries might end up closed as people like this can't put two and two together and decide "Actually the money would be better spent here" Magicman!
  • Score: 0

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