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Threat of library closures

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I know this may be a bit "devils Advocate"... but if the numbers of people using the library's are decreasing as they say they are,  is there a compelling reason to spend public money to keep them open? 

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I know this may be a bit "devils Advocate"... but if the numbers of people using the library's are decreasing as they say they are,  is there a compelling reason to spend public money to keep them open? 

 

The Department for Culture Media and Sport has a plan to extend the range of uses for libraries. https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/388989/Independent_Library_Report-_18_December.pdf

 

Make of it what you will that the council has set up Live Wire as an arms length organisation, then amazingly staffed it with council employees, ignored any ideas that would preserve these facilities, then hidden behind the decision to simply close the borough's libraries at the same time that it needs money for more important things. 

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Oh dear seems the person who openly posted about the sign that he had created and was put up (see my videos from yesterday) has had a telling off from the planning department and they are threatening him with a criminal offence :(  

Here is a cut and paste of his post about it tonight although sadly I can't post the picture that accompanies is post that shows his mouth gagged and him lying on the signs as I can remember my photobucket account password.

"GAGED to Gimp Status!!!!
I feel beaten, smashed to a pulp, wrecked, and disenchanted with my own, paid for, beloved holy council, with several calls from the planning team that have forced me to lay down and show the white flag
of homestead surrender. I am not a perfect boy but always kept my self to my self and the one and only time i fight for the right to speak, express and protect our community, the planning office threatens me with a
CRIMINAL CONVICTION for my signs of protest that will impact all Warriantonians....
I have had 2 previous village sign projects that seem to have been overlooked as they didnt effect their leaders even tho one made Lymm Life, Warrington Guardian and Lymm pages.
I feel like a targeted victim of this current circumstance, if its not a pretty little art project with 120 street signs in the lymm area doing art....which is illegal too and highly visible for over 1 month, its just 27 trying to save
over library and parking charges and now they come, as the planning office obviously doesent do POLLOTICS, yet my work is art, poetry about saving our town, I need help, they are shutting me down. I dont know if I can
carry on, my children need me to have a job and the threat of CRIMINAL conviction, not civil...is possible a step too far....i guess I need the help of Sheila Woodyatt to stand up for me, but will she??
Or what about Joe Griffiths, will he endorce my self dreamt up campaign of signs that are trying to save the village???
Signed: LYMMgimpped"

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Well at least people are starting to realise the council's priorities. It's an organisation solely interested in self preservation right now. Every decision they make is based on diverting resources back to the council to preserve itself. 

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Oh dear seems the person who openly posted about the sign that he had created and was put up (see my videos from yesterday) has had a telling off from the planning department and they are threatening him with a criminal offence :(  

 

Perhaps 'LYMMgimpped'  should gather all the correspondence he has had from the planning dept, - put it all through a shredding machine - post it back to them with a cover note explaining 'it was all a mistake' 'lessons have been learned' and then forget all about it. 

 

Just repeat this process every time you put a poster up LYMMgimpped.

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I know this may be a bit "devils Advocate"... but if the numbers of people using the library's are decreasing as they say they are,  is there a compelling reason to spend public money to keep them open? 

How do they know exactly how many people do use their libraries though?  Figures have been given, which incidentaly shows Stockton Heath Library top of the list for numbers but they still want to close that one.

 

Their figures can't be a true reflection though. OK so if you borrow books they have a record via your library card but if for example you just go into one of the libraries to use their reference section or, in the case of the main Museum Street library, to use their reference only section or to view microfiche records etc they NEVER ask who you are or to see your library ticket.  I pop in often to do that but there will be no record of me visiting and using those services and will be the same for all others who use libraries for that.

 

Also when my son was young we used to go to Stockton Heath Library and read books in there on the children's section.  We didn't always take them out as going in there to read was a fun little trip out followed by a play on the park near it.   Many parents still do that.  They too will not be counted in the 'figures'.

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How do they know exactly how many people do use their libraries though?  Figures have been given, which incidentaly shows Stockton Heath Library top of the list for numbers but they still want to close that one.

 

Their figures can't be a true reflection though. OK so if you borrow books they have a record via your library card but if for example you just go into one of the libraries to use their reference section or, in the case of the main Museum Street library, to use their reference only section or to view microfiche records etc they NEVER ask who you are or to see your library ticket.  I pop in often to do that but there will be no record of me visiting and using those services and will be the same for all others who use libraries for that.

 

Also when my son was young we used to go to Stockton Heath Library and read books in there on the children's section.  We didn't always take them out as going in there to read was a fun little trip out followed by a play on the park near it.   Many parents still do that.  They too will not be counted in the 'figures'.

 

I see that the libraries in the 'hubs' in the North of Warrington won't be closing, even though they're used far less than those in the South. Funny, that. 

 

Next up all other council services and facilities in the south part of town, except for the car parks, natch. I suppose people in that part of town should be grateful the only leisure centre is attached to a school, otherwise that would be a goner too. 

 

I've probably said too much now. We know the council don't like people pointing out the bleedin' obvious.

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How do they know exactly how many people do use their libraries though?  Figures have been given, which incidentaly shows Stockton Heath Library top of the list for numbers but they still want to close that one.

 

Their figures can't be a true reflection though. OK so if you borrow books they have a record via your library card but if for example you just go into one of the libraries to use their reference section or, in the case of the main Museum Street library, to use their reference only section or to view microfiche records etc they NEVER ask who you are or to see your library ticket.  I pop in often to do that but there will be no record of me visiting and using those services and will be the same for all others who use libraries for that.

 

Also when my son was young we used to go to Stockton Heath Library and read books in there on the children's section.  We didn't always take them out as going in there to read was a fun little trip out followed by a play on the park near it.   Many parents still do that.  They too will not be counted in the 'figures'.

Each of the libraries has "footfall counters" Dizzy, over the doors as you go in.... so they know how many people go in and come out again. These have been in for years

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Each of the libraries has "footfall counters" Dizzy, over the doors as you go in.... so they know how many people go in and come out again. These have been in for years

I didn't know that, thanks for the info Baz.  I'll walk in and out a few times next time I go so it looks like there's 5 of me :wink:

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I didn't know that, thanks for the info Baz.  I'll walk in and out a few times next time I go so it looks like there's 5 of me :wink:

 

It doesn't matter if they get a bigger attendance than Man Utd. They need the money. Those new offices won't pay for themselves, you know. However much they're costing.  

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Good point grey man.  Do the council really need to spend their our money on their proposed new office building in the new Time Square development when they now own the building they are currently in so no longer have to pay.
rent.

What will happen to the building that currently house the libraries too if they are closed.  Stockton Heaths library, for example. is in Alexandra Park grounds so it's not like they could sell of the building plot to a developer for a few houses or anything.  I guess the building would just remain there, still in council/live wire ownership but perhaps empty and unused.  I suppose they could use it as some other sort of community building or youth club...but hey that would cost money too...might a swell keep the library open :wink:

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It's already a community hub based on the numbers of people using it. But in the wrong place. The only way to save it would be to move it to a ward where the council spends money on residents.

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Re the Stockton Heath Library building.  To get an idea of what the building would be used for once the library has been got rid of just work out what will be needed in the area to ensure the planned developments in Grappenhall & Appleton get the green light.  Additional school places? Nursery or pre-school places? a children's health centre?....or whatever. The only thing you can be sure of is that any additions needed to the local infrastructure will not be provided in the areas they are planning to develop, and will not cut into the developers profits or cause traffic congestion issues which might deter buyers or reduce house prices.   

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  • Re the Lymm Library 'campaign'. This is the reply I got to comments I had posted on the News page.

  •  

Graham Gowland on 12th October 2016 10:02 pm 10:02 pm

Hi SHA and Paul. I’m a Lymm Parish councillor, and if you click on the video, that’s me – I’m absolutely committed to keeping the library open, essentially to the service levels we have (Or more), partially by making the argument that Warrignton has cut too deep on libraries already – we’re 30-50% below the funding rates of other councils who have also made cuts, but also in looking at how we could utilise the building, maybe funded by the Parish, to reduce running costs for Livewire. It’s all up in the air, and you don’t line up all your negotiating points before hand publicly! –  As for Ian – He’s helped run several meetings we’ve had to collect information on what we call ‘alternative models’  - other approaches to keeping the library open. He’s been out on the streets collecting signatures, and we have a date – December the 5th, to make the council debate Lymm in particular. It sits alongside the other libraries – we don’t want to close others to save Lymm – although a honest review might find some that were not viable. He’s worked hard, but remember as a Borough councillor, he needs a degree of flexibility. Of the Borough councillors I know, he is a hard worker, and with Bob Barr, is certainly engaging more than some others on the council.

 

 

It appears to me that the Lib Dems in are out in full force to 'make an issue' out of the threatened closure.

Cllrs Ian Marks & Bob Barr's involvement in this campaign certainly doesn't fill me with confidence.

 

Note, They are "looking at how we could utilise the building, maybe funded by the Parish, to reduce running costs for Livewire".

 

Re Cllr Mark's efforts   "As for Ian – He’s helped run several meetings we’ve had to collect information on what we call ‘alternative models’  - other approaches to keeping the library open."

 

As well as helping to run meetings  "He’s been out on the streets collecting signatures....."  --- gaining maximum publicity!

But, we need to remember, "..........he needs a degree of flexibility" ----Why? to be able to work both sides of the fence?

 

 

Their 'campaign' seems to me to be progressing the ideas put forward by WBC & Livewire rather than campaigning against the proposed changes! 

WBC have a statutory duty to provide library services so why should they even consider that Parish Councils fund them?

Why are these 'campaigners' focusing efforts on trying to reduce costs for Livewire

Have the meetings they have been running been gathering support for a challenge to the proposed changes or have they merely been gathering support for 'alternative models' - which are what WBC & Livewire propose?

 

What they are being clear about is that their efforts are not being focused on all the town's libraries but "Lymm in particular". 

"It sits alongside the other libraries – we don’t want to close others to save Lymm – although a honest review might find some that were not viable".  - but they are considering this possibility?

 

Also, no mention whatever about the proposed destruction of the Historic Town Centre Library building - this doesn't seem of any concern to them.

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As a recent returnee to the library i have not yet had the pleasure of borrowing more than one ebook so far, will be looking in the next day or so though to see what the latest development of the ebook system is like. (it has been changed three times in the last two months)

 

anyhow i have just had  a look at the livewire website and clicked on the link "about us" which took me to a blankish page not very confidence inspiring really makes you wonder if they are hiding something or just don't want people to know who and what they are.

 

https://livewirewarrington.co.uk/about-us

 

Given that they seem to have control over most of the "council" leisure facilities it makes me wonder how much of a profit they expect to make from streamlining the library system. In fact the only price for any of their services that they provide was for the catering for parties.

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With an eye to a little favourable ink in the press, expect lots of hot air based vowing, pledging, blasting and condemning from the usual suspects with their different coloured rosettes.

It will soon blow over once they've had their fun, of course.

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I agree, the usual self publicists will be out in force - and the remainder of the circa 60 councillors will just sit back and watch yet another public service be dispensed of and yet another historic building be destroyed. 

 

But I don't agree that it will 'soon blow over'. I think WBC have underestimated the attachment the public have to their library services and this may prove to be a cut too far. 

Also, there are some buildings in this town that people value more than others - not necessarily because they are the finest, or the most historic but simply because they have a greater attachment to them. The Museum St, Library building is one of them and if plans to destroy the interior and slap a giant glass slug on the exterior are not immediately dropped I think the public uprising is more likely to 'blow up' than blow over.    

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As a recent returnee to the library i have not yet had the pleasure of borrowing more than one ebook so far, will be looking in the next day or so though to see what the latest development of the ebook system is like. (it has been changed three times in the last two months)

 

anyhow i have just had  a look at the livewire website and clicked on the link "about us" which took me to a blankish page not very confidence inspiring really makes you wonder if they are hiding something or just don't want people to know who and what they are.

 

https://livewirewarrington.co.uk/about-us

 

Given that they seem to have control over most of the "council" leisure facilities it makes me wonder how much of a profit they expect to make from streamlining the library system. In fact the only price for any of their services that they provide was for the catering for parties.

 

Yes Sid, the "about us" page seems to have disappeared. Last time I saw it there were about 14 people on the management board!

Also there was a page giving details of how many people used each service - (large numbers using the library services) but that page also seems to have disappeared!

 

Re Livewire expecting 'profit'. As a Community Interest Company they are not expected to make a profit as such. Any 'savings' they make or gains from other sources they are supposed to feed the money back into the company to improve services.  If anyone will be making profit it will be WBC by selling off redundant properties.

WBC have passed the management of Library services over to Livewire and should also pass over the money allocated to run these services.

As a CIC rather than a registered charity Livewire is allowed to pay it's management board and all it's staff out of their funds. So this arrangement could have saved WBC quite a lot in staff salaries.  

Livewire, is now calling the library services 'library and learning services' and intend to supply various 'learning opportunities' & 'outreach activities'. What these additional services and activities will actually be I don't know but it appears that they will be paid for out of the statutory library funds. 

 

All of these changes will certainly create well paid managerial positions and also many jobs for which librarian qualifications are not needed. It would be interesting to compare previous library staffing costs with those of the proposed new system.

 

Also, Livewire is expecting to get funding for conversion of the Museum St Library into a 'heritage hub' - (digital heritage and outreach activities).  So if WBC haven't passed on ownership of the building they get it modernised for free - which they could sell on at a later date.

Personally I don't think it's ethical that heritage funds should be given for destroying heritage!  or that funding to provide library services is diverted to pay for other services or activities.  Whether or not it's in fact legal is an issue that is figuring in a number of similar cases from other parts of the country which are presently going through the courts.  

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Their 'About Us' page has suddenly come back to life........

 

There's some interesting info in the 3 downloadabe PDF documents on there.

For example from their document titled '2016-2020 LiveWire Business Plan'


it shows their 'Fascinating Facts, that they are proud to share, about how in the past 3 years Livewire saw almost 3 MILLION people access Library Services.  I'm not sure when the report was created though and which 3 years it refers too.  Screen print :D

livewire%20facts_zps20talvc7.jpg

 

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Livewire 2016 - 2020 Business Plan  -  https://livewirewarrington.co.uk/images/about/files/Livewire-Business-Plan-2016-2020.pdf

Livewire Annual Report 2014/2016    -   https://livewirewarrington.co.uk/images/about/files/Livewire-Annual-Report-14-15.pdf

 

See what LiveWire achieved in it's first year after transferring into a CIC,  One Year On Livewire Review 2012/2013   -  https://livewirewarrington.co.uk/images/about/files/One_Year_On-Final-020813.pdf

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