SAVE OUR LIBRARIES – What on earth is going on at Birkdale Library?

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My colleague Cllr. Mike Booth has this story on his blog site at

http://kewfocus.blogspot.co.uk/2013/02/birkdale-library-development.html

Frankly, it is all rather odd. Why has Sefton Council for Voluntary Service (CVS) come up with their ‘idea’ of moving into the Library seemingly after Labour run Sefton Council closes it. Talk about stamping up and down on the grave before the patient is even dead! I thought CVS was supposed to support the voluntary sector not to look for opportunities to do the Labour Council’s bidding by providing it with a tenant (CVS) should Labour go ahead and close this excellent community facility.

Please read what Mike has to say and then have a look at the document below that was put together by a group of non-political people working towards a common goal of saving the Library.

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BLAG. Birkdale Library Action Group.

In response to consultation by Sefton Council regarding proposed closure of Birkdale Library.

INTRODUCTION

Following a proposal by Sefton Council to close down 7 Libraries in Sefton, BLAG set up an action group to investigate ways that a library service could continue to operate in Birkdale. Various BLAG sub groups have carried out research on library issues, which was co-ordinated into an overall plan by a central steering group. A petition was signed by just under 2,000 people demanding that Birkdale Library should be saved.

AIMS.

• To maintain a valuable Public Library/Reference/Information Service.
• To create a more cost effective & manageable service.
• To maintain an accessible library service for all.

BASIS OF BLAGS CASE.

It is essential that the library service in the Southport area should be accessible to all people and for this reason thought must be given to disabled and elderly people who can only access a library by car.
Birkdale is the only library in Southport with a dedicated car park containing reserved spaces for the disabled. ( The councils chosen library option for Southport – The Atkinson – will have the worst possible access for anybody arriving by car.)
It is felt that if Birkdale library were to close, that this user group could be victims of discrimination.

Another group that would be greatly affected by closure are pupils of the 8 local schools who would not be able use a library without travelling by public transport out of the area. By removing the “convenience factor” of not being able to use the library on the way home from school, it is thought that most of these children would be lost to the library system at the expense of their educational needs.

BLAG have investigated how Birkdale Library could remain open at a reduced cost to the council. This report contains details of how a saving of 48% can be made to the current revenue budget reducing the net annual cost to £43,460.

This report also contains details of how Birkdale Library could provide an improved service in meeting local community needs whilst generating increased income which would contribute towards library running costs.
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The submission above is much more detailed but I have not produced the whole of the excellent document here. However, my point is why have Sefton CVS not been working alongside the volunteers who made the Birkdale Library submission. To throw in their own curved ball after the volunteers have spent hours working on their plan is frankly a disgraceful way to treat volunteers.

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