Thursday, 10 February 2011

Warwickshire Libraries Champion - The Search is On

Could this be You?
Perhaps, I am not a patient person and perhaps I can't read a diary properly, but as far as I can tell, it's eighteen days until the consultation process starts (1 March) and a further 90 days until it ends (31 May?). But why wait? I think someone needs to step up and be appointed as an independent Warwickshire Libraries Champion. Some who will think outside the bookcase, someone who will aim high and target all libraries to open 70 hours a week and settle for nothing less.

Here's what we know and how it might work. There is no doubt there are cuts - and the only way is to downsize Right? Wrong. Facing The Challenge, in my view, reads like a self fulfilling prophecy where the only way is down. It's worth quoting these ideas from FTC:
As part of the decision making process, discussions with communities will look at a range of options for the provision of a library service for the community. These will include:
• The local community delivering library services (Big Society principles)
• Working in partnership to deliver library services from another building in the community
• Use the existing building to deliver extra services to provide income to maintain a library service
 • Give the community the opportunity to run community libraries themselves
Communities would need to come forward with a robust business case for operating their own service, which we will explore with them. The business case will need to cover all the associated costs e.g. buildings and would need to take account of the on-costs and resource implications which would also need careful consideration. If no sustainable option is identified, Warwickshire County Council will vacate the building at that location.
So, what does this Warwickshire Libraries Champion look like? My guess, they like libraries, use libraries and have shared some special moments of thought in one (or many). But, it goes beyond that. They need to have a vision, some entrepreneurial spirit and their head in the clouds. But, their passion and creativity for the project will allow them to flip the whole idea on it's head and make all the Warwickshire Libraries Prosper. With any survival like this comes adaptation. Libraries cannot survive on books alone. If you are reading this and want to find out more - don't wait for a consultation form in a few weeks, get the ball rolling today. It's your library - so what are you going do with it? 

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