Libraries threatened with 'closure by stealth'

Libraries threatened with 'closure by stealth'

Libraries threatened with 'closure by stealth'

First published in News

THEY are at the heart of communities across the city – a valuable service used by young and old alike.

But today the full threat to Southampton’s library service can today be laid bare.

Jobs, opening hours and services are all facing deep cuts as council bosses try to save £20m across the city next year. However, those campaigning against the budget cuts to libraries claim massively reducing opening hours is “closure by stealth”.

Under the plans, opening times will be cut by more than 50 per cent in some branches, the new books budget slashed by £50,000 and some mobile library stops axed.

In all about 120 hours opening each week would be hived off in total with 18 jobs shed in a bid to cut £303,000.

Angry library users are now circulating petitions and a letter writing campaign is under way.

They are pleading for council bosses to reconsider the measures amid fears services could become so run-down they risk being singled out for closure during a future round of budget cuts.

The Labour administration claim the alternative would be to cull libraries now.

Leisure boss Cllr Warwick Payne said: “Given the funding gap of more than £20m the council basically has two options on the table.

“The first is to reduce library opening hours across the city and this means that the burden is shared as equally as it can be.

“The alternative is to select several libraries to close completely so that libraries elsewhere maintain their current level of service.

“I was not happy with the scenario where whole communities could be deprived of their library service.”

Burgess Road Library is set to see its service drop to two weekday afternoons, each lasting just three hours.

It will also lose its Monday and Friday 7pm closing time.

Campaigner Dr Susanna Sherwin, who has launched a petition, said: “I am aware that cuts have to be made, but feel that cutting down library opening hours will have a detrimental effect on the local community, and on the development of the children in the localities of the branch libraries.

“By reducing opening hours, people have less opportunity to attend the library and numbers using them will decrease. This will give the council a reason in a year or two for closing down the smaller branches completely.”

Campaign group Friends of Cobbett Road Library are battling cuts to opening times of more than 50 per cent.

The Art Deco style library, saved after a campaign in 2007, is currently open 29.5 hours a week. But the plan is to reduce this to 14.5, for three hours each day.

Kevin Lancashire, Friends of Cobbett Road Library chairman, said: “This is closure by stealth.

“The impact will be devastating because people do not just use the library for books. There are 23 community groups meeting here which will not be able to continue with what is proposed.”

Only Weston, Millbrook and Thornhill have no reductions to their opening hours.

Other changes include consolidating the mobile library and Booksplus into a single mobile bus services and council officers are now examining reducing the number of stops.

Also facing the chop is the business information service, which offers specialised service to the business community.

The changes would come into force after February after the full budget is passed. A consultation process is now under way until Tuesday, February 11.

Tory leisure chief Cllr John Hannides said: “This is a council that is scratching around. It is ill-considered and very shortterm.

They are paying no attention to the longterm damage that they are doing.

“All generations are making great use of our libraries and it should be a source of pride. I hope that the Labour administration reconsiders. In the overall scheme of things they are not saving a huge amount of money.”

Earlier this year Hampshire County Council, which runs services in the county outside Southampton, swung its axe at its library budget, slashing £450,000.

This involved closing Stanmore library in Winchester. It is currently reviewing North Baddesley Library with the view of transferring management to the village parish council.

County mobile library services are also at risk.

How will the planned cuts affect your library?

WOOLSTON
Monday: Now 9.30am to 7pm – proposed to shut all day
Tuesday: Now 9.30am to 7pm – proposed 10am to 6pm
Wednesday: Now 10am to 7pm – proposed 10am to 6pm
Friday: Now 9.30am to 7pm – proposed 10am to 5pm
Saturday: Now 9.30am to 4pm – proposed 10am to 4pm
Total weekly hours opening hours: now 44 hours – after cuts 29

PORTSWOOD
Monday: Now 9.30am to 7pm – proposed 10am to 5pm
Tuesday: Now 9.30am to 5pm – proposed to shut all day
Wednesday: Now 10am to 7pm – proposed 10am to 5pm
Friday: Now 9.30am to 7pm – proposed 10am to 5pm
Saturday: Now 9.30am to 4pm – proposed 10am to 4pm
Total weekly hours opening hours: now 42 hours – after cuts 27

BURGESS ROAD
Monday: Now 9.30am to 7pm – proposed 10am to 1pm
Wednesday: Now 10am to 5pm – proposed 2pm to 5pm
Friday: Now 9.30am to 7pm – proposed 10am to 1pm
Saturday: Now 9.30am to 4pm – proposed 10am to 3.30pm
Total weekly hours opening hours: now 32 hours – after cuts 17

COBBETT ROAD
Monday: Now 9.30am to 7pm – proposed 2pm to 5pm
Wednesday: Now 10am to 5pm – proposed 10 to 1pm
Friday: Now 9.30am to 7pm – proposed 2pm to 5pm
Saturday: Now 9.30am to 1pm – proposed 10am to 12.30pm
Total weekly hours opening hours: now 27 hours – after cuts 14

CENTRAL
Tuesday and Wednesday: Now 9.30am to 7pm – proposed to change to10am to 5pm
Friday: Now 9.30am to 7pm – proposed to close all day
Saturday: Now 9.30am to 4pm – proposed 10am to 4pm
Total weekly hours opening hours: now 54 hours – after cuts 39

SHIRLEY
Monday: Now 9.30am to 7pm – proposed 10am to 6pm
Tuesday: Now 9.30am to 7pm – proposed 9.30am to 5pm
Wednesday: Now 10am to 7pm – proposed shut all day
Friday: Now 9.30am to 7pm – proposed 10am to 5pm
Saturday: Now 9.30am to 4pm – proposed 10am to 4pm
Total weekly hours opening hours: now 51 hours – after cuts 36

BITTERNE
Monday: Now 9.30am to 7pm – proposed 10am to 6pm
Tuesday: Now 9.30m to 5pm – proposed to shut all day
Wednesday: Now 10am to 7pm – proposed 10am to 6pm
Thursday: Now 9.30am to 5pm – proposed 10am to 3.30pm
Friday: Now 9.30am to 7pm – proposed 10am to 5pm
Saturday: Now 9.30am to 4pm – proposed 10am to 4pm
Total weekly hours opening hours: now 49 hours – after cuts 34

LORDSHILL
Tuesday: Now 9.30am to 7pm – proposed 10am to 6pm
Wednesday: Now 10am to 7pm – proposed 10am to 6pm
Thursday: Now 9.30am to 7pm – proposed 10am to 5pm
Friday: Now 9.30am to 7pm – proposed to shut all day
Saturday: Now 9.30am to 4pm – proposed 10am to 4pm
Total weekly hours opening hours: now 44 hours – after cuts 29

Comments (11)

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5:13pm Mon 3 Dec 12

sotonboy84 says...

Of of course Hannides, the answer to everything is to sell Southampton's art collection...
Vile ignorant man.
Of of course Hannides, the answer to everything is to sell Southampton's art collection... Vile ignorant man. sotonboy84
  • Score: 0

7:25pm Mon 3 Dec 12

Linesman says...

If Hannides&Co had not squandered money on 'White Elephant' museum, the city's coffers would be in a healthier state.

How many visiters per day is it clocking up now?
If Hannides&Co had not squandered money on 'White Elephant' museum, the city's coffers would be in a healthier state. How many visiters per day is it clocking up now? Linesman
  • Score: 0

9:27pm Mon 3 Dec 12

Shoong says...

Linesman wrote:
If Hannides&Co had not squandered money on 'White Elephant' museum, the city's coffers would be in a healthier state.

How many visiters per day is it clocking up now?
As an unqualified psychologist I'm genuinely concerned that your fixation with the Sea Museum is affecting your life. Does a giant Sea Museum with legs chase you in your dreams? Or do you have night mares about being locked in there?

As for visitor figures, why don't you find out as it's clearly something you think about a lot. What if they are actually quite high or more than you expected? Would you then just shut up about it and move on with your life? Give it a try.
[quote][p][bold]Linesman[/bold] wrote: If Hannides&Co had not squandered money on 'White Elephant' museum, the city's coffers would be in a healthier state. How many visiters per day is it clocking up now?[/p][/quote]As an unqualified psychologist I'm genuinely concerned that your fixation with the Sea Museum is affecting your life. Does a giant Sea Museum with legs chase you in your dreams? Or do you have night mares about being locked in there? As for visitor figures, why don't you find out as it's clearly something you think about a lot. What if they are actually quite high or more than you expected? Would you then just shut up about it and move on with your life? Give it a try. Shoong
  • Score: 0

11:08pm Mon 3 Dec 12

Inform Al says...

Shoong wrote:
Linesman wrote:
If Hannides&Co had not squandered money on 'White Elephant' museum, the city's coffers would be in a healthier state.

How many visiters per day is it clocking up now?
As an unqualified psychologist I'm genuinely concerned that your fixation with the Sea Museum is affecting your life. Does a giant Sea Museum with legs chase you in your dreams? Or do you have night mares about being locked in there?

As for visitor figures, why don't you find out as it's clearly something you think about a lot. What if they are actually quite high or more than you expected? Would you then just shut up about it and move on with your life? Give it a try.
Been there twice and felt quite lonely both times Definitely wouldn't have paid for the return trip which was a freebie. Worryingly when the Welfare Reform Act kicks in one of the main methods of contacting the DWP for jobseekers will be on line, gonna be difficult for those in Swaythling who do not have accesss to the web when the Burgedd Road library is all but shut down. If the Gumment wants to save money by the WRA perhaps they should pay to keep the libraries open.
[quote][p][bold]Shoong[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Linesman[/bold] wrote: If Hannides&Co had not squandered money on 'White Elephant' museum, the city's coffers would be in a healthier state. How many visiters per day is it clocking up now?[/p][/quote]As an unqualified psychologist I'm genuinely concerned that your fixation with the Sea Museum is affecting your life. Does a giant Sea Museum with legs chase you in your dreams? Or do you have night mares about being locked in there? As for visitor figures, why don't you find out as it's clearly something you think about a lot. What if they are actually quite high or more than you expected? Would you then just shut up about it and move on with your life? Give it a try.[/p][/quote]Been there twice and felt quite lonely both times Definitely wouldn't have paid for the return trip which was a freebie. Worryingly when the Welfare Reform Act kicks in one of the main methods of contacting the DWP for jobseekers will be on line, gonna be difficult for those in Swaythling who do not have accesss to the web when the Burgedd Road library is all but shut down. If the Gumment wants to save money by the WRA perhaps they should pay to keep the libraries open. Inform Al
  • Score: 0

8:23am Tue 4 Dec 12

freemantlegirl2 says...

Sadly, libraries will be a thing to be affected because it is the least painful. As long as they remain open and reduced opening hours sounds a compromise, isn't that better than taking away day centres for the elderly/disabled, or children's centres?
As long as there is some access for those less able, elderly or cash strapped to access libraries that is the main thing. Just keeping them open because some academics think that it's PC isn't going to wash in this climate. Of course we shouldn't lose them but they must be prepared to take a cut to at least stay open. Cutting all funding would be wrong.

If you want someone to blame, blame the government for not giving councils enough money to operate and not giving them the option of raising Council Tax, even a small modest rise for everyone would at least plug one or two gaps in funding.

Shoong, I will be VERY interested to see visitor numbers for the SCM after taking into account the 'free tickets' for everyone. Mine is still sitting on my fridge as you can't use them in school holidays(!). Just day to day traffic. There may come a time when it has to be put in mothballs at least for a while but I expect there's some stipulation on the funding they got from the Arts Lottery about it being kept open at least for the interim.
Sadly, libraries will be a thing to be affected because it is the least painful. As long as they remain open and reduced opening hours sounds a compromise, isn't that better than taking away day centres for the elderly/disabled, or children's centres? As long as there is some access for those less able, elderly or cash strapped to access libraries that is the main thing. Just keeping them open because some academics think that it's PC isn't going to wash in this climate. Of course we shouldn't lose them but they must be prepared to take a cut to at least stay open. Cutting all funding would be wrong. If you want someone to blame, blame the government for not giving councils enough money to operate and not giving them the option of raising Council Tax, even a small modest rise for everyone would at least plug one or two gaps in funding. Shoong, I will be VERY interested to see visitor numbers for the SCM after taking into account the 'free tickets' for everyone. Mine is still sitting on my fridge as you can't use them in school holidays(!). Just day to day traffic. There may come a time when it has to be put in mothballs at least for a while but I expect there's some stipulation on the funding they got from the Arts Lottery about it being kept open at least for the interim. freemantlegirl2
  • Score: 0

9:32am Tue 4 Dec 12

tootle says...

Well, they should try thinking outside the box on the libraries. When I go in my local library is always nearly empty - and that is when the new main core opening hours are. Try splitshift opening, extending to at least 7pm. Every day with same opening hours so we don't get confused. Advertising - get the service known. Libraries are not just about books, academic purists have it all wrong, they are sources of information with qualified staff(yes, real people) on hand to help you.
Well, they should try thinking outside the box on the libraries. When I go in my local library is always nearly empty - and that is when the new main core opening hours are. Try splitshift opening, extending to at least 7pm. Every day with same opening hours so we don't get confused. Advertising - get the service known. Libraries are not just about books, academic purists have it all wrong, they are sources of information with qualified staff(yes, real people) on hand to help you. tootle
  • Score: 0

10:53am Tue 4 Dec 12

aldermoorboy says...

Thought Labour said no cuts to staff and services. I hope the public remember this in 2014.
Sea Museum is great and busy when I went, friendly staff and I heard it will make a profit. I will pay to go again.
Thought Labour said no cuts to staff and services. I hope the public remember this in 2014. Sea Museum is great and busy when I went, friendly staff and I heard it will make a profit. I will pay to go again. aldermoorboy
  • Score: 0

11:20am Tue 4 Dec 12

southy says...

aldermoorboy wrote:
Thought Labour said no cuts to staff and services. I hope the public remember this in 2014.
Sea Museum is great and busy when I went, friendly staff and I heard it will make a profit. I will pay to go again.
It has not even broke even for a days opening, it was at its busiest when it first open for about 4 to 7 days and even then it was well below the numbers it needed to break even, each day now see less and less people visiting, at this rate its going to take 60 to 70 years to pay for it self. its making a massive lost, they might as well close it down now before losing any more and turn it into the Art Gallery.
And yet the one in Belfast as been above required numbers and at the current rate will pay for it self with in 10 years
[quote][p][bold]aldermoorboy[/bold] wrote: Thought Labour said no cuts to staff and services. I hope the public remember this in 2014. Sea Museum is great and busy when I went, friendly staff and I heard it will make a profit. I will pay to go again.[/p][/quote]It has not even broke even for a days opening, it was at its busiest when it first open for about 4 to 7 days and even then it was well below the numbers it needed to break even, each day now see less and less people visiting, at this rate its going to take 60 to 70 years to pay for it self. its making a massive lost, they might as well close it down now before losing any more and turn it into the Art Gallery. And yet the one in Belfast as been above required numbers and at the current rate will pay for it self with in 10 years southy
  • Score: 0

11:35am Tue 4 Dec 12

southy says...

It a very big mistake, making cuts it ends up with people having to take a cut in wages or a losing there jobs, oh it looks good on paper all that money they think they are saving, but in reality they are not saving it will snd up costing more.
People do not realise what happens next or they turn a blind eye to it.
These people that take a wage cut or loses there jobs, will end up having to claim benefits, like Housing and Council tax reductions and that means less coming into the council funds and more going out.
And the next stage will be more cuts to make up for the lost incoming revenue and that cycle starts again
It a very big mistake, making cuts it ends up with people having to take a cut in wages or a losing there jobs, oh it looks good on paper all that money they think they are saving, but in reality they are not saving it will snd up costing more. People do not realise what happens next or they turn a blind eye to it. These people that take a wage cut or loses there jobs, will end up having to claim benefits, like Housing and Council tax reductions and that means less coming into the council funds and more going out. And the next stage will be more cuts to make up for the lost incoming revenue and that cycle starts again southy
  • Score: 0

11:38am Tue 4 Dec 12

aldermoorboy says...

I heard it's already making a profit.
It not just a Sea Museum it is also the history of Southampton.
All Southampton school children should see this, great for their education.
Great tourist attraction too.
Belfast Museum cost a fortune compared to Southampton.
I heard it's already making a profit. It not just a Sea Museum it is also the history of Southampton. All Southampton school children should see this, great for their education. Great tourist attraction too. Belfast Museum cost a fortune compared to Southampton. aldermoorboy
  • Score: 0

12:14pm Tue 4 Dec 12

southy says...

aldermoorboy wrote:
I heard it's already making a profit.
It not just a Sea Museum it is also the history of Southampton.
All Southampton school children should see this, great for their education.
Great tourist attraction too.
Belfast Museum cost a fortune compared to Southampton.
Yes Belfast did cost a fortune, but this is where the overseas visitors are heading to and not Southampton, and it was these people that Royston was aiming at not locals.
The required numbers of visitors for Southampton has been revise twice now, reducing the numbers it needs in a year to break even and extending the number of years it needs to pay for it self, and its not reaching the daily quote that is needed for the year, I was at the Library last week in the Afternoon and chatting to the steward at the door he was telling me they only seen 10 paying customers so far for that day, this Museum is never going to pay for it self, and how much interest as been charge now on the loan the council got to pay for this to be built.
[quote][p][bold]aldermoorboy[/bold] wrote: I heard it's already making a profit. It not just a Sea Museum it is also the history of Southampton. All Southampton school children should see this, great for their education. Great tourist attraction too. Belfast Museum cost a fortune compared to Southampton.[/p][/quote]Yes Belfast did cost a fortune, but this is where the overseas visitors are heading to and not Southampton, and it was these people that Royston was aiming at not locals. The required numbers of visitors for Southampton has been revise twice now, reducing the numbers it needs in a year to break even and extending the number of years it needs to pay for it self, and its not reaching the daily quote that is needed for the year, I was at the Library last week in the Afternoon and chatting to the steward at the door he was telling me they only seen 10 paying customers so far for that day, this Museum is never going to pay for it self, and how much interest as been charge now on the loan the council got to pay for this to be built. southy
  • Score: 0

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