I received my first letter headed The Review and the Consultation Period of the East Riding Yorkshire Council Libraries on 16 September.
I decided to ring my union – Unison – about the letter received by all library staff on the review of the libraries, which is looking to make savings overall in the council, a saving of £74 million.
Unison weren’t too sure why the window was so big between the first consultation letter from 29 September to 21 December. I told them it was to gather the views both from the staff, library users and non-library users.
I asked Unison: “I would like to know where I stand as a member of staff.”
Unison said I would have to wait for the next round of letters before they could answer that question but it is likely they will be looking for redundancies and more so if you are over 55 years that way you can access your pension, and it is also likely they will ask for redundancies, reduce dstaffing hours and days.
I will not be 55 for another few years and I will not be able to collect my pension. I do have responsibilities towards my money. I will need to work and I couldn’t think of nicer place to work but in a library, amongst books .
The multi functioning of the libraries to make savings only devalues the libraries; to put libraries in with other buildings, such as leisure centres, or closing the smaller library and only having the larger libraries makes them look like they are more of a business and makes private businesses think perhaps profit could be made on this public service.
This in turn would have a knock-on effect in publishing and purchase power will determine what books will be in the libraries.
According to the Public Libraries and Museum Act 1964, every local authority will provide a library and now with devolution on the agenda, I do wonder how that will broaden the parliamentary act?