What is real cost of library change?

It has come to my attention that East Sussex County Council is re-organizing the library service in an attempt to save money.

This reorganization imposed on us by a management consultancy -no doubt brought in at enormous cost - involves grouping two and sometimes three libraries under one manager. This move will supposedly save £50,000 a year. Quite apart from the cost of the consultancy there will no doubt be redundancies and the successful managers will have to be paid for shuttling between the libraries which will cost in both time ans mileage payments. This will inevitably mean they have less time to manage the libraries with a resultant loss to the communities they serve. There is also the personal cost to them in many cases uprooting them from a community they know and have served for many years.

A case in point is our Battle library manager who has served the community in Battle library for 16 years. He has a wealth of local knowledge and is always the same cheerful and helpful to everyone from the smallest tot with a picture book to the oldest members of the community who struggle with the computers. He has a special way with children and young adults with special needs who he has seen grow up.. For some a visit to the library to see Mr Mike is the highlight of their week. He is actually over qualified for the job he does but does it because he enjoys it and wants to “make life a little bit better for the people he serves”. A move to the north of the county will not only be personally disruptive the community will lose a wealth of local knowledge and experience.

This move may possibly save the county a few pounds but at what cost to the library service and the community it serves in Battle?

Joy Wilkinson

by email