Friends of Pevensey Bay Library
Objections to Strategy
What are the problems with the strategy?
- The strategy should have strong cultural objectives consistent with the 1964 Act aimed at encouraging the nation to read and recognising the benefits of this
- By narrowly focusing on ‘priority need’, children’s literacy and a small group of users, ESCC may be failing in their legal duty ‘to provide a comprehensive and efficient library service‘ to anyone that wants to use it (1964 Act).
- There is little recognition of how modern local libraries support communities, they have long since stopped being simply book-issuing satellites of the central library
- Those people in priority need that do not live in areas where deprivation is concentrated will experience a significant withdrawal of library services and difficulties in accessing other public services online
- The new Eservices are very welcome but not enough weight has been placed on the role local libraries play in reducing isolation for people in outlying areas who are not part of the workforce – the elderly, mothers looking after children at home, those seeking work, those unable to work
- The information used on accessibility criteria is inaccurate and unrealistic
- The reduction in footfall over the last ten years is not a reason for closing libraries, rather it is a symptom of poor promotion, cuts in service that cause inconvenience, and changes in the way libraries are used now that they offer online services. Nationally, the decline in library visits has plateaued and in some areas like Greenwich its increased.
- No options are presented. Do communities want even further electronic services at the expense of losing their local libraries? Rather than no funding at all, should matching funding be made available to communities that put together alternative proposals to help fund their libraries? Should the new initiatives focussed on children and literacy be funded through the education budget?
- The strategy does not seem to take account of the impact on the future resilience of a community of withdrawing the services of the library from so many users. Pevensey Bay has already seen the loss of its bank, a central pub, and shop outlets. The Roman Catholic Church is also earmarked for closure. There are various clubs that meet in the area but none of them operate on the scale of the library.
- The timescale for developing alternative proposals is unrealistic given the committee timetables of other organisations that would need to be involved