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Author Topic: Open+ at Marple Library: What does it mean for Marple people?  (Read 2900 times)

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Re: Open+ at Marple Library: What does it mean for Marple people?
« Reply #19 on: December 18, 2018, 06:34:45 AM »
Marple Councillors concerned at possible reduction in staffed library hours

At Marple Area Committee on Wednesday 12 December Cllr Allan raised the issue of Open+ and concerns over the possibility of reduced staffed hours at Marple Library. The Committee agreed that they would write to the relevant Exec Member to express those concerns. You can hear what was said via this link:

https://stockport.public-i.tv/core/portal/webcast_interactive/389768/start_time/399000

Also, during Public Questions, Gillian Postill asked the following question on behalf of Marple Civic Society and the Marple Website:

Subject: Communicating consultations to local groups and the public

Question: Stockport Council often conducts consultations on issues that impact the people of Marple, like the current ones on Libraries / Open+ and on Street Cleaning, Parks and Highways Verge Maintenance - and previous ones like changes to car parking charges and closure of public toilets. None of these consultations seem to be promoted in a formal way to local communities, and people are usually left to find out about them on the “grapevine”, if at all. Can Marple Area Committee please monitor the publication of consultations by Stockport Council and announce those that have a direct, or indirect impact on the Marple Community? This could be done as part of Chair's announcements at the start of the meetings and also disseminated by email from Democratic Services in the same way that announcements about roads works in the area are shared.

The Area Committee agreed to announce future consultations at the meetings and to share the information by email too.
Mark Whittaker

The Marple Website

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Re: Open+ at Marple Library: What does it mean for Marple people?
« Reply #18 on: December 17, 2018, 05:32:25 PM »
I've now received a reply from Cllr. Elise Wilson to my comments.

It is rather generic and doesn't address all the points raised.

The Bookworms have received very similar reply.

The best thing for me is it promises that Community Groups will still be able to access the library - I'm taking that to mean in the same way that they do now.

The main issue is still how extensive the reduction in staffed hours will be. It paints Open+ as a positive thing but Open+ plus reduced staffed hours is not a net plus in my view when half the library cannot be accessed during unstaffed hours. The more staffed hours are reduced the worse it will be for Marple Library users.

Here is the full reply:

Dear Mark,

Thanks for your email.

Thanks for your comments on the Marple Library consultation. I will ensure that they are fed into the consultation responses for Marple.

At this stage the consultation only finished yesterday and therefore no decisions on the number or time staffed hours will be reduced by has been taken. We will analyse both the information we have on usage and the results of the consultation to work out what the offer will be going forward.

Open+ is not intended to restrict people from using the Library, quite the opposite, it is intended to make sure that our valuable library services remain in our communities and are available for as many people as possible to use. By introducing Open+ we are extending our library offer so that the library is open for longer. Community groups will still be able to access the library.

I do feel the need to share with you the huge funding pressure we are experiencing. We have faced a funding gap of £100million since 2010 and continue to face a further £47million gap over the next four years. This is at the same time as facing a significant increase on demand, especially within Adult Social Care and Children’s Services. The cause of this sits firmly with central government who have taken decisions which have disproportionally hit local government.

Open+ is an investment in our libraries at a time when councils up and down the country are closing theirs. By reviewing how and when our Open+ libraries are staffed, we will be able to have our libraries open for longer, with reduced recurring costs. I am confident changes to staffed hours can be accommodated without redundancies.

Regards,

Elise

Elise Wilson
Councillor for Davenport and Cale Green ward
Mark Whittaker

The Marple Website

ringi

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Re: Open+ at Marple Library: What does it mean for Marple people?
« Reply #17 on: December 17, 2018, 05:02:44 PM »
Anybody who has been on a fixed term contract for over two years, has the same redundancy rights as a permanent employee.
https://www.gov.uk/fixed-term-contracts/employees-rights

But that only gives the same rights as a "normal" permanent employee, not the much higher payouts a permanent council employee gets.

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Re: Open+ at Marple Library: What does it mean for Marple people?
« Reply #16 on: December 14, 2018, 10:49:41 AM »
Consultation on Libraries closes tomorrow!

Today / tomorrow is the last opportunity to Have Your Say on the Marple Library Consultation.

Not sure what time it closes tomorrow - it may be the start, end or a specific time - so play safe and do it today!

Here's the link: https://consultation.stockport.gov.uk/communications/libaries-consultation/

I'm pleased to say that I received a reply to my own letter to MP William Wragg. He has in turn written to Cllr. Elise Wilson, who I believe is the Executive Member responsible. I hadn't written to her as I wasn't aware of her role but have since done so on 9th December but have had no acknowledgement or reply yet.

Copies of both letters are attached to this post.

William's comments to Cllr Wilson were:

I have been contacted by a number of my constituents who have concerns about the future of Library provision in the Stockport MBC area. I am supportive of the Open+ scheme, which allows known users to access the library at a time of their choosing, even outside of staffing hours. However, I would be concerned about any plans to use Open+ as a reason to reduce staffing hours in libraries.

I know that you recognise that libraries are vital to local communities and I congratulate SMBC on maintaining current provision in times of reduced local authority funding. They provide resources which are otherwise inaccessible to our most vulnerable residents, act as hubs for community groups and serve as meeting places.

Open+ is a good idea but should be provided in addition to existing services. I am very willing to work with you to achieve.
Mark Whittaker

The Marple Website

andrewbowden

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Re: Open+ at Marple Library: What does it mean for Marple people?
« Reply #15 on: November 30, 2018, 08:58:56 AM »
Wonderful there's no redundancies, but it sounds somewhat disingenuous in how it was worded to you.

Was it clearly stated to the Society+Friends that most library staff are on fixed term contracts, which end early next year ?  Unlike the books with which they work, those fixed term contracts are not being renewed.

Anybody who has been on a fixed term contract for over two years, has the same redundancy rights as a permanent employee.
https://www.gov.uk/fixed-term-contracts/employees-rights

wheels

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Re: Open+ at Marple Library: What does it mean for Marple people?
« Reply #14 on: November 29, 2018, 10:37:27 PM »
The previous Liberal Democrat administration undertook to safeguard the library service despite government cuts. Many library staff made representation at the time that they were not therefore eligible for redundancy as many of them being long serving staff wanted to go and we're being denied the opportunity.

NeilCorrie

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Re: Open+ at Marple Library: What does it mean for Marple people?
« Reply #13 on: November 29, 2018, 08:13:01 PM »
   
  • We expressed concern at the potential loss of the wonderful library staff and were assured that there would be no redundancies. While this is positive and does help to alleviate concerns, we are conscious that promises have been made in the past and not kept (like the undertaking given by the council to retain a full-time Park Keeper in Memorial Park that was not fulfilled).
    Wonderful there's no redundancies, but it sounds somewhat disingenuous in how it was worded to you.

    Was it clearly stated to the Society+Friends that most library staff are on fixed term contracts, which end early next year ?  Unlike the books with which they work, those fixed term contracts are not being renewed.

    Phil

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    Re: Open+ at Marple Library: What does it mean for Marple people?
    « Reply #12 on: November 29, 2018, 08:03:06 PM »
    👍
    What a fantastic letter from the bookworms. Sums it up perfectly. Sadly my guess is that it won't get the considered response it deserves.....

    Well done though bookworms, and thank you on behalf of those of us less eloquent!

    RH.

    admin

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    Re: Open+ at Marple Library: What does it mean for Marple people?
    « Reply #11 on: November 29, 2018, 12:24:40 PM »
    Marple Book Clubs (Bookworms)

    Marple Book Clubs have provided a copy of a letter they have sent to Library Management, Council Officers and Local Councillors concerning this matter.

    Signatures and email addresses have been removed from this copy:
    Mark Whittaker

    The Marple Website

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    Re: Open+ at Marple Library: What does it mean for Marple people?
    « Reply #10 on: November 28, 2018, 12:54:13 PM »
    Marple Civic Society and Friends of the Park meet with Library Management staff

    Yesterday two committee members from Marple Civic Society and I (representing Friends of the Park) met with two of the Library Management staff to discuss Open+ and the Library Consultation that is currently underway. Discussions were reassuring in part, although they were unable to tell us how many staffed hours would be lost from April next year, which remains a key concern.

    The main points from the meeting were:
    • We stressed our opinion that it is crucial Open+ and reduced staffing hours should not impact or restrict local groups from using the library facilities for meetings and activities in exactly the same way as they do now (including access to the toilet). The library managers appear to be committed to achieving that and we look forward to details of how it will be made to work.
    • The restrictions to the upper floor of the library during Open+ hours are due to insurance issues, particularly the potential for an accident involving a fall from the balcony. We asked that they look into the viability and cost of installing some kind of (clear) barrier to make this safer, and give potential for the whole library to be open during Open+. We offered to discuss how the community may be able to help find funding for this if it did prove to be viable.
    • We stressed the importance of groups being able to continue to use the library for exhibitions and for people to be able to visit them while the library is open, even during Open+. We also reiterated that we considered it unsatisfactory that half the library space (upstairs) will not be available to users during Open+ hours. The degree to which this impacts on general community use will depend on the level of staffed hours lost but we feel it is important to look for solutions to this issue.
    • We expressed concerns about Open+ restrictions for unaccompanied under 16s. The severity of this of course depends on the extent of cuts to staffed hours and the timing of staffed sessions.
    • We expressed concern at the potential loss of the wonderful library staff and were assured that there would be no redundancies. While this is positive and does help to alleviate concerns, we are conscious that promises have been made in the past and not kept (like the undertaking given by the council to retain a full-time Park Keeper in Memorial Park that was not fulfilled).
    • We expressed concern that the leaflet promoting Open+ presents it in a purely positive way without telling people that from next April there will be cuts to staffed hours. This means that anyone reading it in isolation would not see a particular need to respond to the consultation. The library management emphasised that they are eager for local people to complete the consultation and asked for the help of Marple Civic Society, Friends of the Park and the Marple Website to encourage more people to respond.
    • We also explained a growing concern that consultations like this one seem to come to people's attention via the grapevine, rather than any formal notification process. This gives an impression that although the council is consulting they hope to do so without too many people noticing or understanding the significance. We believe that consultations that may be of concern to Marple residents should be formally announced at Marple Area Committee Meetings and will raise this as a public question with the Committee. The library managers also agreed to raise this internally themselves.
    So what can you do? Pretty much as before:
    • Complete the consultation using the comments section to highlight your own concerns and what you think is important. In particular (in our view) that local groups must be able continue as they are and that it is unsatisfactory for half the library to be out of bounds during Open+ hours.
    • Please also express your concerns to local MP William Wragg and to our six local councillors.
    You have until 15 December to respond to the consultation: https://consultation.stockport.gov.uk/communications/libaries-consultation/
    Mark Whittaker

    The Marple Website

    Carolyn Leather

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    Re: Open+ at Marple Library: What does it mean for Marple people?
    « Reply #9 on: November 21, 2018, 02:52:56 PM »
    Like the Civic Society says, the consultation is very limited and it appears that the bulk of the decisions about the cuts to the library services have already been made.

    I think it is disgraceful that under 16s will not be permitted to use the library during the unstaffed times.  Young people should be encouraged to read as much as possible and this policy, to my mind, is wholly unacceptable.  My son was an avid reader when he was younger, and I used to order him several books a week from the library.  He was always asking me if his books were ready for collection, and he used to love walking up to the library on his own to collect them.  It saddens me to think that other children won't be able to engage with  the library in this way.

    Carolyn Leather
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    Re: Open+ at Marple Library: What does it mean for Marple people?
    « Reply #8 on: November 21, 2018, 11:05:25 AM »
    Marple Civic Society has now shared its concerns over the Open+ Consultation and Marple Library:

    http://marplecivicsociety.blogspot.com/2018/11/changes-to-marple-library-open.html
     
    Mark Whittaker

    The Marple Website

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    Re: Open+ at Marple Library: What does it mean for Marple people?
    « Reply #7 on: November 16, 2018, 11:50:57 AM »
    I have picked up a questionnaire from the library this morning and have completed it ready to return later in the week. I have completed it very much in line with the issued raised by admin, and have put my comment in Question 12 expressing my total disagreement with the proposals. The library is an excellent asset for Marple and extremely well used. Leave it as it is.
    The library may be going if the new swimming baths is built there it could be all incoparated  into one including the senior citizens hall that is one of the options
                being looked at .it needs remodernising any way .

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    Re: Open+ at Marple Library: What does it mean for Marple people?
    « Reply #6 on: November 16, 2018, 10:43:40 AM »
    For those like myself who are less able, entering a library alone is a rather daunting prospect.  I doubt I will be able to make use of this Open+, and will be constrained by the exceedingly short opening times that are being proposed.  Blatant discrimination to those less fortunate.

    The problem is that we don't know what the cuts in staffed times will be, so it is very difficult to assess the true impact of what is proposed.

    In Tameside they have reduced the staffed hours of 1 library by 56%, 4 by 51%, 1 by 36%, 1 by 30% and 1 (their central library) is unchanged.

    That's an average of just over 40% staffed hours reduced across 8 libraries.

    If Marple Library were reduced by 40% then it would be a devastating impact given that half the library's facilities would not be accessible during so called Open Plus.

    More like Open Minus!

    Data from here: https://tamesidereporter.com/2017/03/tameside-libraries-open-longer-staffed-for-less/
    Mark Whittaker

    The Marple Website

    wheels

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    Re: Open+ at Marple Library: What does it mean for Marple people?
    « Reply #5 on: November 14, 2018, 11:13:49 PM »


    ............. by the exceedingly short opening times that are being proposed.........

    Can you point me to where you have seen these "exceedingly short opening hours"