Library staff break silence

VIEWS SOUGHT: Staff are urging residents to make their views known on library services. (5894959)

VIEWS SOUGHT: Staff are urging residents to make their views known on library services. (5894959)

First published in News

VALE library staff have broken their employer imposed silence to document some of the issues the Vale Council’s library proposals could have if implemented.

The Vale Council staff, who wanted to remain unidentified, claimed attempting to run Dinas Powys, Wenvoe, Sully and St Athan’s library facilities as community libraries using volunteers would result in paid members losing their jobs.

They said other libraries, including Barry, would open later and close earlier – also leading to job losses and reduced hours for remaining staff.

One staff member said: “The impact of this will be library users will be limited to when they can job search, as the library has free internet use for all and any who do not have access to the internet at home.

“Children's activities will be reduced because of less staff.”

Another staff member said: “There are other options we could have looked at. We actually have four chartered librarians in our building.

“After the previous county librarian we ran the library with no librarian for almost two years.

"Many thought Chris Edwards, who was then the principal librarian, would move to our building - Barry Library - and the county librarian would not be replaced.

“My point is why is it always the lower end of the scale - the ones working with the actual public? Why can they not get rid of a librarian on a much higher pay scale?

“It would probably work out the same as three members of staff who are losing their jobs."

Unison branch secretary, Phillip Carter said staff and unions were alarmed at the proposals which appeared to be totally unrealistic and a significant step towards closure.

He said those staff facing the loss of their posts had seen no evidence of how the proposals would be implemented and how its libraries would be adequately staffed by properly trained volunteers.

He said: “Temporary staff are also due to lose their posts together with some administration positions. Under the proposals other staff will have their hours cut and libraries will only open for six hours on a Saturday with no late opening hours.

“Dedicated library staff have been left shocked and upset as this news emerged before these proposals had been officially discussed at the Vale Council cabinet meeting on Monday, April 28.

“Staff and unions are also annoyed about the lack of meaningful consultation.

“Our libraries are not just used to borrow books.

“For some people they are the only access they have to the internet and they provide a valuable service in educating the young and old. They are extremely important in the Government’s campaign to get jobseekers back in to work by providing work clubs and advice on setting up their universal job match accounts. A campaign is now building to defend our libraries and the jobs of our librarians. The irony of these cuts is that the Vale of Glamorgan have very healthy reserves of over £40 million and could well afford to save our libraries and staff if they so wished.”

Staff urged residents to support the campaign for the libraries.

To sign either petition, visit http://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/vale-of-glamorgan-council-keep-vale-libraries-open or http://www.petition.co.uk/

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