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Author Topic: Open+ at Marple Library: What does it mean for Marple people?  (Read 5856 times)

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Sharon Goddard

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Re: Open+ at Marple Library: What does it mean for Marple people?
« Reply #26 on: October 11, 2019, 03:00:28 PM »
What a fantastic article about the questionnaire. How I endorse everything that was written. I agree with all of it and urge our wonderful team of Councillors to continue to fight against any further cuts to staffing. I believe Open Plus is a huge White Elephant and that, despite, the Council denying it, it is a failure, a waste of public funds and is actually causing many problems in Marple Park and Library. I went into the library today because it was staffed. I tried to pay a fine through the machines. Had the librarian not been there, it would not have been possible because THE BRAND NEW MACHINE I WAS USING DID NOT ACCEPT FINES! The CCTV cameras have not made us safer. No one will attend If there is an incident in or outside the library. It is only AFTER the event that anything could be done and by then it is too late! I would argue that all the money that is being poured into this senseless, mean spirited and unwanted scheme is ultimately going to close the library service because people are now afraid to go in when the library is unstaffed. Furthermore, Marple Library IS the hub of our community. Please EVERYONE fill in your questionnaire and OBJECT to further cuts to staffing. Marple library is MUCH more than a book borrowing service!

Malcolm Allan

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Re: Open+ at Marple Library: What does it mean for Marple people?
« Reply #25 on: October 11, 2019, 01:16:39 PM »
Thanks for this post, and for the encouragement for people to put in a response, which is what we aimed to stress at the Area Committee. The three ward councillors have been pursuing a number of issues around this, and will be raising this in the next full Council meeting (before the end of the consultation) as well as commenting formally ourselves. We are also concerned about the effect Open Plus has had on the safety of people wanting to use the Library out of hours and have been working with the Library Service, Police and Friends of the Park to tackle this. We believe the Library is a vital community resource which goes much further than the provision of books to read. The staff provide a superb service and make it a true community hub. We believe this library should be expanded and enhanced as a centre for services, not contracted. (Posted on behalf of Malcolm, Steve and Becky)

admin

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Re: Open+ at Marple Library: What does it mean for Marple people?
« Reply #24 on: October 01, 2019, 07:17:06 AM »
Marple Library Staffed Hours Under Attack Again

Despite 228 comments of objection from Marple residents last time they consulted on Open+ (which they refused to share with the community who made them and implemented Open+ anyway) Stockport Council is now consulting on further cuts to staffed hours at Marple Library and others across the borough.



This time they want you to tell them your preferred time of opening. You can select one from: Before 10am; 10am - 2pm; 12 noon - 4pm; 2pm - 6pm or After 6pm for each week day (apart from Wednesday probably, when it is closed all day anyway). On Saturday you can choose between 10am - 12 noon or 12 noon to 4pm.

It seems clear that the intention is to force people to choose one of these 4 hour slots each day and you will get the one that is most popular. The "consultation" does not consult on whether you are in favour of this or not. Even when they ask you "How far do you agree or disagree with the use of Open+ technology" they qualify it by adding "to give people access to libraries if staffing levels are reduced?"  So like before, they are not offering you any real choice here.

The consultation is open until 15 November and can be accessed here:

https://consultation.stockport.gov.uk/policy-performance-and-reform/copy-of-libaries-consultation/

What Can You Do?

The most important thing is that you Have Your Say! If you support this and want to choose your favourite time slot, then go ahead.

But if you don't agree with the further reduction of staffed hours at Marple Library you can do what I've done:

One way to Object

Complete the consultation but do not respond to page 4 (where they ask you your preferred time slots).

Answer the other questions as you see fit and then use the free text on Page 11 (Do you have any further comments to make about this consultation?) to tell them why you object to any further reduction in staffed hours, why you think this is such a bad idea, and tell them that this is not a proper consultation with the community.

When you've done that, share your thoughts and comments with @William Wragg MP and with all six of our local Councillors.

You can take some encouragement from the last Marple Area Committee, when chair @Malcolm Allan made a statement about Marple Library. So give Cllr Alan and his colleagues @Steve Gribbon @BeckySenior @Aron Thornley @ColinMac and @TomDowseMarpleSouth the ammunition they need to represent your views.

Watch Cllr Allan's statement here (keep watching until 19 minutes in):

https://stockport.public-i.tv/core/portal/webcast_interactive/442721/start_time/449000?force_language_code=en_GB

Finally for now, to give you some ideas how you could respond, here are my comments shared via the consultation, with our MP and with local councillors:

These are my personal comments on this consultation

I do not support the increased use of Open+ to replace current staffed hours at Marple Library.

I object to the format of this consultation, which doesn't allow people to object or disapprove of further reductions in staffed hours and forces them to choose an even more limited period when the library will be staffed. The consultation is deliberately contrived to help underpin the intended objective of reducing staffed hours at the expense of the quality of service provided.

Marple Library is the hub of the community and is extremely well used. It should be open with full staffing more often, not less. The intention to make it increasingly inaccessible to the most vulnerable members of our society is a wicked, heartless and non community-minded act by Stockport Council.

Open+ is not working successfully at Marple Library and staffed hours should be left as they currently are. There are frequent issues of anti-social behaviour with people being tail-gated into the building when they go in and genuine users are being abused when they try to challenge them.

There is currently horrendous antisocial behaviour going on outside the library with youths trying to get in and the council's security and the police do not appear to be equipped to stop this. Organisers of local book clubs that have run very successfully for many years are becoming despondent and members are now leaving because they no longer feel safe. It is likely that these well established clubs that have helped so many people will fail and cease to operate because of Open+.

Open+ is penalising people who are elderly, infirm or of a nervous disposition and are worried about their personal safety. Women in particular (but also many men) are frightened of using the library when it is unstaffed, especially after dark. Expecting people to challenge unauthorised users and stop them coming in is totally unfair and unreasonable of the council and the nature of the entrance to the library is such that it is impossible to prevent tail-gating. 

Much of the library is inaccessible during Open+ hours and people are not able to use the upstairs computers, which is penalising those on low income because they are the ones most likely not to have their own PC at home. This is preventing people from studying or seeking jobs and also makes any displays and exhibitions out of bounds to visitors outside of staffed hours.

Many people do not understand the library open hours. I volunteer in the park, so I am regularly there between 8am and 10am. I have spoken to dozens and dozens of people standing outside the library not understanding why the cannot get in. The notice in the doorway that explained the open hours was deliberately misleading. This is because it was designed to emphasise the idea that it was open for longer hours with Open+ but did not make it clear that people had to sign up to the scheme. People were standing there reading the notice and believing that the library should be open at 8am and not understanding why they couldn't get in. Since I pointed this out to librarians the sign has been removed and now there is no explanation of when the library is open at all. It's like the council just doesn't care any more.

Stockport Council should be ashamed of what they are trying to do by reducing the staffed hours at Marple Library – the Marple community does not want this – we told you that during the last consultation in greater numbers than any other library and are telling you again – stop restricting access to one of our greatest community assets.

How to contact your MP and Local Councillors:

For anyone uncertain how to contact William Wragg MP or our local councillors, here are links to their full official contact details in the public domain:

William Wragg MP: https://www.williamwragg.org.uk/contact

Cllr Malcolm Allan: http://democracy.stockport.gov.uk/mgUserInfo.aspx?UID=5084
Cllr Steve Gribbon: http://democracy.stockport.gov.uk/mgUserInfo.aspx?UID=6174
Cllr Beck Senior: http://democracy.stockport.gov.uk/mgUserInfo.aspx?UID=6760
Cllr Aron Thornley: http://democracy.stockport.gov.uk/mgUserInfo.aspx?UID=6760
Cllr Colin Macalister: http://democracy.stockport.gov.uk/mgUserInfo.aspx?UID=6175
Cllr Tom Dowse: http://democracy.stockport.gov.uk/mgUserInfo.aspx?UID=5085

amazon

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Re: Open+ at Marple Library: What does it mean for Marple people?
« Reply #23 on: March 05, 2019, 04:48:35 PM »
They need to do something about the lighting in the library carpark before they do anything else. The lighting is erratic to say the least and often none of the 3 main lamps are working. Many people will be put off using the library in winter when the council offices and the clinic are closed for the evening and the staff have left the library, due to the perceived danger of muggings in the carpark. (Not me - I taught in really rough areas of Manchester and I don't use a walking stick just because of my hip problem......)
it may be all altered if the new community centre and swimming baths go there but that's a good way off at least. we will be on light nights soon

My login is Henrietta

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Re: Open+ at Marple Library: What does it mean for Marple people?
« Reply #22 on: March 05, 2019, 03:58:27 PM »
They need to do something about the lighting in the library carpark before they do anything else. The lighting is erratic to say the least and often none of the 3 main lamps are working. Many people will be put off using the library in winter when the council offices and the clinic are closed for the evening and the staff have left the library, due to the perceived danger of muggings in the carpark. (Not me - I taught in really rough areas of Manchester and I don't use a walking stick just because of my hip problem......)
Don't look for the light at the end of the tunnel -  stomp along there and turn the bl**dy thing on yourself!

admin

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Re: Open+ at Marple Library: What does it mean for Marple people?
« Reply #21 on: March 05, 2019, 05:57:51 AM »
Open+ Open Day at Marple Library on Wednesday 13 March

Marple Library has an Open+ Day on Wednesday 13 March from 9am to 5pm so that people can find out more about accessing the library when staff are not present, sign up for Open+ and see the system demonstrated.

To sign up you will need proof of ID and proof of your address.



Regarding the questions asked of the Officer in charge:

1 - I've received assurances that Friends of the Park (and I assume other groups) will be able to continue to use the library rooms at the same days / times as we do now. We are awaiting advice on any changes to the procedures for accessing the building.

2 - It has been agreed that the comments made during the consultation can be shared with local councillors if they request them but they won't share with the community who made them.

admin

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Re: Open+ at Marple Library: What does it mean for Marple people?
« Reply #20 on: March 01, 2019, 07:29:47 AM »
Library Service Update Report Published

A Library Service Update report has been published for consideration by Marple Area Committee on Wednesday 6 March.

The report can be read via this link: http://democracy.stockport.gov.uk/documents/s152773/Library%20Serivce%20Update.pdf

There is an appendix that shows the results of the consultation for Marple Library but it doesn't include the 228 comments that were made by members of the public:

http://democracy.stockport.gov.uk/documents/s152774/Enc.%201%20for%20Library%20Serivce%20Update.pdf

These are the proposed new library open hours for Marple and high Lane are:





The report doesn't address how community groups that that currently use the library outside of staffed hours will access it, so I have written to the Officer to ask this and a couple of other questions.

I'll share any responses received.

admin

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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.

admin

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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

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.

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.