Open letter to Green Party and Friends of Sefton Park Library.

Dear friends

The most recent Green Party newsletter contains some information on the Council proposals for Sefton Park library and the "library dilemma".  The newsletter suggests that the Council may be handing it over to a private nursery and if so, as a last resort the Green Party would support a reduced library run by volunteers organised through Friends of Sefton Park Library.

 

We understand the dilemma faced by  people who care desperately about libraries and have come to the conclusion that it would be better to maintain some element of a service than let it go.   However, we feel that in this case, and at this point in time, to give support to a volunteer service  would be completely the wrong decision.

In the first place, an offer now, whilst talks are taking place, simply gives cover to the delusion that a volunteer library can ever be an adequate substitute and makes it much easier to hand over the building. More importantly we have already had the experience of a similar experiment in Walton and know the shortfalls.  Before beginning to volunteer,  friends of Sefton Park library should consider:

  • What space will be set aside for library provision?

  • What hours will the library open?

  • Will it be available after school and on Saturdays when many parents bring their children take out books?

  • How would issues like access to the library and to the nursery be dealt with (given concern over child protection) ?

  • Who takes responsibility for ensuring the continuation of a library service once the building is handed over?  Is it the Council or the new occupiers?

  • Is there a budget for newspapers and periodicals?

  • What access willl there be for people (and in particular jobseekers) wanting to use computers ?

  • Where will the  annual budget for new stock come from?

Finally, all experience has shown that even in relatively affluent areas with a high population of retired people, a library run by volunteers is not sustainable. 

Please refuse to facilitate the handing over of Sefton Park library and come to our public meeting on 15 February to continue the fight to keep Sefton Park library a publicly funded and run library service.

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