Sunday 31 July 2011

The Red Rock Crawler is In the Woods - Filmed on Location in Kenilworth

I welcome any reader contributions and I'm pleased to say we have a movie first. The Red Rock Crawler is a short video (made by IsaacDuk) showing a radio controlled car. I'm told this type of Maisto Rock Crawler on YouTube can attract views of around 50,000.

There are weeks ahead of entertaining the kids, so why not head out to make something like this. When the sun shines, Kenilworth can equal any of the great movie locations. Weren't Colin Firth and Cameron Diaz wandering around in Warwickshire a few weeks ago?

Friday 29 July 2011

Chief Inspector Kerry Blakeman's Video Updates Sat 30 July 5pm to 3am

In another West Midlands Police first, CI Kerry Blakeman is once again pushing the Social Media boundaries with Video Updates tomorrow from 5pm to 3am. 

For local policing in Coventry, it must be a busy time on a Saturday evening. CI Kerry Blakeman will be bringing you hourly video updates from behind the scenes in Coventry. To ask a question or make a comment, you can tweet @kerryblakeman and use the hashtag #cov53. Here'e the video introduction and Press Release from WMP (including the Caribbean Festival).

The #cov53 has now ended, but you can watch the ten videos again in this mini player. Scroll through Welcome and Intro, Response Officer, Specials, WMP Helicopter, Aerial video, Busy and Lively, Cell Block, Licensees, Contact Centre and Goodnight from Me.

Thursday 28 July 2011

STOP HS2 Miniature White Elephants on Show in Warwick Road - But for how long?

This was the scene earlier today as the Life Size White Elephant was asked to leave by the council. In it's place stood two miniature White Elephants - but for how long?

In a story that seems to run on and on (unlike the HS2 Consultation that ends tomorrow), the STOP HS2 banner is now claimed to be under investigation.

Wednesday 27 July 2011

STOP HS2 Life Size White Elephant on Show in Warwick Road - But for how long?

There have been a few mentions of a Life Size White Elephant on Show in Warwick Road.

Here are the photos, you can judge for yourself if this is here to stay or will create some interest from complaining residents (and the council).

Sunday 24 July 2011

g+ How Many Global Websites

Here's another one. So, is this stream like the twitter feed? And why can I not seem to format text and add in line links? Hmm
How Many Global Websites are there? And how many are active? I often find it hard to answer this question (accurately). Two sources just discovered. First, the rather obvious Website page at Wikipedia...

Connect2 Kenilworth - A Work in Progress and The Story So Far

View towards Common Lane
Every time you travel along the A429 Coventry Road at Crackley Hill, there are a few construction cabins. Work is very much in progress on the Kenilworth Greenway Project.

These photos, sent to wiK, show the section from Crackley Hill, parallel to Woodlands Road to The Common. Please remember the route is NOT open to the public as it's a work in progress. Kenilworth is awaiting a date for the bridge to be fitted which is expected to be in a weekend in late Summer 2011. Update (2.48pm The black tarmac surface is temporary, finished pathway will same as near to Lawrence Gardens, Kenilworth).

From Twitter (25 July): Cllr John Whitehouse New bridge over A429 to be installed on Sat 10th September 2011. Link thru' Ken Common a bit later - probably Oct - will celebrate then.

View Connect2 Kenilworth in a larger map

Learning all about G+

 -  Jul 24, 2011  -  Public
At wiK, this was posted today. I'm putting in some time,learning all about G+ too, best quote from my @wiKenilworth account was: If facebook and twitter had a baby it would be Google +
Every time you travel along the A429 Coventry Road at Crackley Hill, there are a few construction cabins. Work is very much in progress on the Kenilworth Greenway Project. There are two more sources o...
1 share  -  

g+ post 24 Jul 11 Adding Photos Hemingway and Berne

All this shows is learning how to add photos

Mike Downes's profile photo
 -  Jul 24, 2011  -  Public

Saturday 23 July 2011

Kenilworth Horse Fair: Alternative Routes - Sunday 24 July 2011

For those of you who normally travel along Warwick Road and Leamington Road - expect delays or avoid the area on Sunday 24 July 2011 as many visitors are expected at the Kenilworth Horse Fair.

Although this map is unofficial, it may provide a reminder which routes to take in order to speed up your journey. To reach the A46 Northbound, why not use Dalehouse Road or Crewe Lane.

For A46 Southbound, use Brookside Avenue, Mortimer Road and then Leek Wootton. For Leamington, try Leek Wootton, Hill Wootton and rejoin the A452.

Thursday 21 July 2011

Should Someone in Warwickshire launch a Legal Challenge to save 16 libraries?

To save the closure of 16 libraries, Community Groups have until 19 August 2011 to firm up their business case. Following that, a further report from WCC will hit the cabinet table in October 2011. So what other choices are there - should someone in Warwickshire launch a legal challenge?

Public Library News have produced a page called Legal Action. For those people who have no idea of why closing a library may be illegal, it's an excellent resource to get you started.

From PLNCurrent situation - Legal challenges are being prepared/under way in Brent (1),  Cambridgeshire, Camden Gloucestershire,Isle of Wight and Somerset.  One was under way in Suffolk but the council has now performed a u-turn.  In addition, a judical review had been called about the Culture Secretary's failure to comply with his legal duties at a national level but this has been dropped due to DCMS assurances
For anyone in Warwickshire thinking of starting a legal challenge to stop the closure of the 16 local libraries, I understand Voices for the Library and Public Library News will provide some very helpful advice. 

And as for the image above you'll notice there's no book on finance or accounts. But, plenty on Philosophy, Thinking and the Law. Warwickshire Libraries have made it very clear that their goal is to save money and until someone steps up with a class action to save all 16 libraries, Warwickshire are paddling their way to closure - Unchallenged.

Note: Let me make it very clear, I am taking nothing away from the dedicated and hard work that every Community Group is putting in to save their local library. My point is simply that they should not have to.

Wednesday 20 July 2011

WDC have a FREE Family Fun Day and Open Weekend: It's the One Year Countdown to the Olympics 2012

Warwick District Council are hosting an Open Weekend Saturday 23 July and Sunday 24 July 2012. Loads of FREE activities going on. See WDC Leisure

Activites include: Bouncy castle, face painting, parachute games, krafty kids Olympic torch making, sports games, refreshments... and more

Abbey Fields: Splosh Session Saturday and Sunday 2-3pm

Monday 18 July 2011

How Many Global Websites are there? And how many are active?

I often find it hard to answer this question (accurately). Two sources just discovered. 

First, the rather obvious Website page at Wikipedia: In February 2009, Netcraft, an Internet monitoring company that has tracked Web growth since 1995, reported that there were 215,675,903 websites with domain names and content on them in 2009, compared to just 18,000 websites in August 1995.

Netcraft July 2011 Web Server Survey
With a closer inspection at Netcrafrt, we find this brilliant graphic where there seem to be 108 million global active websites in July 2011.

Thursday 14 July 2011

Warwickshire Police Community Alerts - Sign Up Now

PCSO Carl Whitehouse was at Kenilworth Market this morning. Warwickshire Police are keen to register as many people as possible to their Community Alert Scheme. The alerts, which are usually received by email, keep local residents up to date with any relevant criminal or suspicious behaviour.

You can visit the link above, open a printable Community Alert form or register online. Remember, the SNT in Kenilworth are now on twitter as @SNT_Kenilworth, see  Warwickshire Police SNT Kenilworth now on Twitter - Welcome them, FOLLOW them and make it a Success

Birmingham City Council plan to stream LIVE PUBLIC MEETINGS

BCC on
I've reported before that Birmingham City Council have streamed live video of their public meetings over the web. What I didn't know until now, is that they've only done it twice. 

In a three page document (Live Video Streaming of Full Council Meetings) which be discussed next Tuesday, 19 July 2011, Birmingham outline their experience and provide clear and concise plans for their future. This document is so open and detailed, it's a real example to other authorities.

I'm making it no secret that, I will email this post to Warwickshire County Council. In terms of population, Coventry has around 300,000 people where Warwickshire has 535,100. All the more reason Warwickshire should deliver democracy to the people in such a wide spread county. Come on Warwickshire.

Extract from the Birmingham document:
3.  Relevant background/chronology of key events:   

3.1  On 14 June and 5 July Birmingham City Council streamed video footage of live council meetings over the internet. 

The stream was produced and embedded on the council’s online press office,, along with a live comment/twitter feed. The stream was also made available to the media for use on their websites.

Keep reading for an embedded presentation slideshow..

The WCC Cabinet Meeting Item 3 Libraries: All those in favour...

I always start any public meeting by counting how many people were in the room - today was 60. 

There may of even been the odd library or public type, but I can't be sure. I'm learning all the time and today was finding out over a dozen interviews with councillors were requested (before or after the meeting). But, and correct me if I'm wrong, but no media type was in the room.

Oddly enough, two pieces of news appeared online today about an hour or so before the cabinet meeting. Both were from agenda items to be discussed, They were: Warwickshire excluded pupils teaching unit 'may close (BBC, 14 July 12:31) and £15million expansion plans for Warwickshire primary schools to meet rising pupil numbers (Coventry Telegrapgh, 14 July). I have my theories: Pick n Mix and Hit and Fade.

Agenda Item 2: Libraries started at 1.52pm (and lasted for 22 mins). It was confirmed by Colin Hayfield that Councillors will have the opportunity to be aware of individual library cases. I take that to mean if a Community Group has submitted a business case or expression of interest, then it can be inspected. 

In addition to the 11 Recommendations, there were now four more added (today): Additional recommendations: 
12. Requests that the possibilities for providing small amounts of one off revenue and/or capital support for Community Library bids are investigated and reported back to the October meeting of Cabinet.
13. Requests that the report to Cabinet in October 2011 includes the consequences of increasing the book/stock fund and removing the charges for use of the people's network computers in libraries. 
14. Requests that a joint business plan and report be explored  with Stratford on Avon District Council library and property  services, around a joint facility in Elizabeth House or  alternative options. 
15. Notes the request for an interim report to the Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee.   
Some Councillors commented on issues of: incorrect information, rural isolation (of Alcester, Coleshill and Shipston). In summary, there was some disquiet expressed at the speed of all this happening, as if in a rush - would wrong decisions be taken? Even if these were small differences (in data analysis), they could make great changes (to the overall situation). The issue of Warks Direct (within a library) reared it's head again, with Councillors once again pointing out a reduction in hours would equal a loss of service.

The Chair, Councillor Alan Farnell, pointed out that ALL 34 libraries were being discussed and NOT just the 16 (earmarked for closure). As a simple statement of fact, this does have a larger bearing as the discussion can centre around the 16 (and forget the other 18). 

All these changes are starting and aimed at April long as we make the savings reiterated Colin Hayfield.

All those in favour of the Recommendations...AGREED. Next item... And that's 22 minutes in Cabinet.

Tuesday 12 July 2011

WCC's 560 buildings - What will happen: Retain, Dispose or No Decision (as yet)

Item 12 on Thursday's Agenda is Surplus Property Protocol (19 pages). So, if a WCC property is surplus to the Council's requirements, it will be disposed of (sold or surrender/terminate a lease). Next step: will Cabinet Approve it (on 14 July).

From the CORPORATE ASSET MANAGEMENT PLAN 2011 (118 pages): 1.3 The Council has set a challenging target of saving £4.376 m of running costs from its non-school assets by March 2014, and therefore our use of land and property is under scrutiny both within and outside the authority. And: This plan has been developed to set out the Council’s intentions for each of the approx 560 separate non-school assets which it owns or occupies.

Assets are covered in the following order: 1. Offices, 2. Youth Centres, 3. Teaching & Learning Centres (PRU’s), 4. Children’s Centres, 5. Care Homes for Older People, 6. Community Support Service Centres, 7. Day Centres, 8. Group and Residential Homes, 9. Libraries, 10. Registrars, 11. Fire, 12. Highways Depots and Road Materials Stores, 13. Transport Bases, 14. Household Waste Recycling sites, 15. Heritage, 16. Business Centres, 17. Country Parks/Nature reserves, 18. Gypsy & Traveller sites, 19. Smallholdings, 20. Miscellaneous, 21. Assets leased to external bodies and 22. Surplus assets.

Within each asset category, the assets are highlighted in by colour according to their status:
166 46% Properties highlighted  green are being retained 
103 28% Properties highlighted  yellow are where no decision yet made to retain or dispose 
93   26% Properties highlighted  red will be disposed of 

NOTE: From my maths, this makes a total of 362 properties. That's what I counted from the document, so there are 198 missing (from 560) - I will read again and see if I can find them. Will update, know here they are get in touch. UPDATE: 14 July 2011, I've spoken with the report author who tells me, for example, there may be 75 Smallholdings and Farms. this may explain mismatch on numbers...still investigating.

WCC Cabinet Meeting Shire Hall Thursday 14 July 2011 1.45pm - 351 pages of agenda and that's not even the Library Consultation Report

Here's the Agenda for the Cabinet Meeting on Thursday 14 July 2011. The list, a few in detail and summary at the bottom.

I can't pretend these are uplifting topics because they're not. And for those people who don't get normally involved, they may ask some questions in a year's time like, Where's my library, my Youth Centre and my local office?

The short Agenda: Changing times Libraries, High Speed Rail 2, Adult Social Care, Meeting the Needs of Young People Excluded, Schools Capital Programme, Future Relationships with Schools, Resourcing our Priorities, Transportation delivery in Warks, Kenilworth Railway Station Update...

NUCKLE Phase 1 - Nuneaton to Coventry Rail Line Upgrade, Surplus Property Protocol, Disposal of 101 Bottrill Street, Nuneaton, Disposal of Stockton School House, Hillcrest, Napton Road, Stockton, Rugby, Corporate Asset Management Plan, Awarding of up to Four Year Contracts for Social Care Placements, Waste Core Strategy, any urgent items and purple papers (non-public confidential).

Have a read of the full agenda, for example:
2. Changing Times - a new chapter for Warwickshire Library and Information reads like this, This report sets out the results of consultation on proposed changes to the Warwickshire Library and Information Service as part of its transformation agenda. Cabinet will be asked to agree recommendations in the light of feedback from the consultation.

12. Surplus Property Protocol Following the centralisation of the management of the property portfolio, revision has been made to the existing protocol which provides guidance on the process for disposing of property that becomes surplus to Council’s requirements.

This plan has been developed to set out the Council’s intentions for each of the approx 560 separate non-school assets which it owns or occupies.

Recommendation That Cabinet approves the Surplus Property Protocol set out in Appendix A (118 pages) of the report as the revised procedure for dealing with a property which becomes surplus to the Council’s requirements and is being considered for disposal and that all future reports to members be in accordance with the protocol.

In the next post, I will examine the Surplus Property Protocol as there are libraries, Youth Centres and all sorts of buildings listed. This refers to: When does a public WCC agenda document become news? Make up your own mind, bit of a read this one...

You will see (the full list in next post) WCC have colour coded them all: Within each asset category, the assets are highlighted in by colour according to their status:

Properties highlighted green are being retained

Properties highlighted yellow are where no decision yet made to retain or dispose

Properties highlighted red will be disposed of

Monday 11 July 2011

WCC Special Libraries Overview Scrutiny Committee - Part 2: 34 Parallel Projects

It seems in the last five months of possible library closures, there have been many questions and very few answers. An OSC is about posing questions and having as many answers before Thursday 14 July 2011 at Cabinet - that's not a lot of time.

I was expecting some real cutting edge analysis of the facts - what I get was a feeling that no matter what was said, this financial gun was going to go off. It was the first time I'd heard that phrase, it was backed up with another no financial latitude.

One comment made early on, was how the consultation was still in progress, but staff redundancies had been called for - how is this possible? Another was, how unfair it was to require Community Groups to come up with a robust business case by 19 August. And then what happens after that? Would there be more time? Late in the meeting, a motion was granted where some named libraries would have four weeks extra (more to come on that).

By now, we know how the library staff were briefed just before the public. This has allowed the preferential form to be available soon with a Do you or don't you want voluntary redundancy? One councillor made a few points how staff could be given false hope that they do have a job when it may seem they don't.

Moving onto the 16 business cases, it seemed very little details were available. Can we have an update on all 16 please? No. Why not? Because some are just a letter of interest while others are a fully workable business plan. Can we see those then? No. How about the named six business cases (Baddesley Ensor, Binley Woods, Bulkington, Harbury, Kingsbury and Studley) - can we see those? No - it would break confidentiality. Is there anything else? The Community has to do the work, we are happy to give the advice. It was a 3 month period, some Communities struggled.

Courtesy of WCC Item 12
Then onto the statistics. The Community Analysis data sheets do not make any sense. The bus timetables are incorrect, the area facts are incorrect. There is no mention of the cumulative effect on a community if it loses a library. 

In Gloucestershire, there is a judicial review - will that affect Warwickshire?  The legal implications in Glos are 'the process used to make their decision' - this may or may not impact on us (Warwickshire).

There were some questions on why Warwick Library is being merged with Warks Direct and moved to Shire Hall. Why now? Answers ranged from it's easy to control, it's close and we have the structure (in place).

Then came some Qs on why School libraries have not been used to merge existing libraries. No solid answers.

Back to statistics again with: Why are some maps measured in kilometres (5km) and some in miles (2miles)? This will affect how judgements are made especially in rural areas which may lead to rural isolation. There needs to me more accuracy in this data. IF flawed, then rethink.

Note on this post: There were many more points I have not listed, probably as they are incomplete or I do not want to mislead anyone. Overall, there was a comment made how ALL THIS is like running 34 PARALLEL PROJECTS.

WCC Special Libraries Overview Scrutiny Committee - Part 1: Sign of the Times

Today, at 9.30am in Committee Room 2, Shire Hall, Warwick, there were twenty three people in the room. That included Councillors, WCC staff, one person from Dunchurch Community Group, but NO members of the public. My guess, holding a meeting like this on a Monday morning is a great time to get a zero turnout.  

It was about taking an in depth look into the WCC Libraries Report: jobs, closures and decisions. This will have a bearing on what is voted upon on Thursday 14 July 2011 in three days time. I've spent the last few days ploughing through all 326 pages (sure you've seen Parts 01-5).

Meeting started with the odd words about who hadn't read the report at all, those who had read bits and then another who claimed you only need read 35 pages and disregard the rest. 

At this point, I'll tell you again, these are my thoughts as an observer in the room. I'm not referencing each Councillor on a who said what and when. That's what I did last time on 4 March 2011 - many people seemed to like that.

It seems proper reporters do that, and as I keep getting reminded at Shire Hall - I am a member of the public.  This is now a standing joke with some other media types I know (you know who you are). If I was honest, I expected at least some press types at the meeting today. I hope this isn't what will happen on Thursday.

Then again, after asking too many questions about democracy and how we spread the word, I arrived to find a sign waiting for me, PUBLIC NOTICE: ELECTRONIC RECORDING OF THE REGULATORY COMMITTEE IS NOT PERMITTED. So, I've been told. The message I've just had back from WCC is all to do with due process and voting. There was another reason, but as hard as I try it escapes me. I thought Eric Pickles wants the public in meetings like this with a camcorder strapped to their wrist. He does - Warwickshire doesn't.

Part 02 to follow very soon.

The Media Standards Trust and BBC College of Journalism debate on the quality of journalism in the UK

This happened last week   BBC College of Journalism @churnalert
The Media Standards Trust and BBC College of Journalism held this lively debate on the quality of journalism in the UK. The motion: This house believes news articles based on press releases should be marked 'advertorial'
For the motion: Chris Atkins (Director of StarSuckers, & Taking Liberties), & James Randerson (Guardian Science/Environment Editor)Against the motion: David Higgerson (Head of Multimedia, Trinity Mirror), & Trevor Morris (former CEO of Chime Communications PR Group; author of 'PR - A Persuasive Industry?') Chaired by: Fiona Fox (Science Media Centre)

Sunday 10 July 2011

WCC Library Report Part 05: Community Analysis - All Libraries Warwickshire

Do not Destroy this Achievement
Jump to: Part 01Part 02, Part 03 and Part 04

In this section, Community Analysis (pages 275-278). I wish I knew how many people have bothered to read the Library Report this far? As for the wiK posts, they end up in may places, see the screen on the left on how whatsinKenilworth has 4 (out of 5) of the Top Stories at Voices For The Library Links.

The document starts off telling us 15 petitions with 10,041 signatures were received. Then, it throws out many numbers and percentages which are quite meaningless. 

Try this for size: Q1 – What is The main way you are involved with libraries? 94% say they are a customer. The graph looks like this.

There were 426 impact letters/emails received. Now that would be a good Freedom of Information request - which would be denied, (my guess citing data protection - know different get in touch).

So, what's the Impact on the Customer? Main Themes from Public Meetings top out with Impact on the vulnerable - Children 12 

Main Themes from Road Shows - No numerical data - what? Themes from Letters and Emails top out with 234 people saying they will lose a meeting place and community focus. This is followed by distance to travel and then two sets of cost (parking and travel).

There is one statement that follows which I have NEVER seen before which sits as the Mount Everest of data to me: Area Facts (page 277) Population within two miles of Library (based on best fit of super output areas) - 88% of households = approx 470,888 population of Warwickshire. 

If I was designing a Library Service or Community Meeting Place and achieved half a million people within two miles - I would like to think that was a success - It is. And what are Warwickshire thinking of doing? Taking 16 of these places away. That may be the correct course of action, but I cannot see it. 

I wonder what a medical, educational or charity professional would think if they were in Africa and set up help famine bases within two miles of 88% of the population? I do - they would work day and night to achieve the other 12%.

That's 283 pages (of 326) reviewed which is 88%, next up the other 12% - how weird is that?

WCC Library Report Part 04: 210 Pages and not one Picture - People learn from Pictures

Courtesy of  Research IBM
Jump to: Part 01Part 02 and Part 03

In this mini marathon that's become the WCC Library Report, a quick copy and paste tells me, we have 107,105 words which equals 357 pages of a novel. I just wish it were a holiday read.

In this section, we dip into the Community Analysis: All libraries and mobiles 40 sections (pp 69-278: 210 pages) I posted earlier, page 275 gives All Libraries Data is worth a look (I will come back to that in detail in a moment).

Here's the thing, as an exTeacher, I taught children from four to eleven years old. And in that time, I showed them a lot of pictures, told them a lot of stories and eventually interrogated a lot of data. In year six, in the SATS, eleven year olds (in maths and science) are asked questions on charts, graphs and tables.

Let me tell you how many charts, graphs and visualisations there are in all 326 pages - None

To quote from an earlier post (April 2011): As humans, we think in pictures. It helps us understand the world. And for that reason, I have produced 19 Facing the Challenge Charts, 11 Library Online Statistics Charts, 4 Meeting and Roadshow tables and 36 other Library posts at this site.  The example from Evolution at Wikipedia illustrates text versus picture - which one can you understand in a only a few seconds?

Next up, in Part 5, pages 275-278 Community Analysis - All Libraries Warwickshire.

Saturday 9 July 2011

WCC Library Report Part 03: The next 11,000 words - Somewhere to Hang my Hat

Somewhere I can Hang my Hat
Jump to:  WCC Library Report Part 01 and
WCC Library Report Part 02

In the next 38 pages (pp 6-43), there are around 11,000 words. That could be equivalent to reading the first 35 pages of a Harry Potter novel (and yes, I do wish I had a magic wand - don't we all).

So what's in it? Many many short paragraphs labelled with numbers (there are 14 in the introduction). They tell us the report's purpose is to feedback from the 12 week consultation. What I'm looking for, at this stage, is any information I can hang my hat on and disregard the waffle.

In my view, each point could be contested. For example, The proposals to reduce the number of council-run libraries from 34 to 18 would affect less than 10% of all library visits (1.9). As as data fact, that may be true. But would you take away a disabled access ramp in a village, just because only two people use it? My point comes from equality - and it's not new. I am not the first, and certainly not the last, to ask - how can it be a consultation when WCC have decided to bring down the hammer and the people have to either watch it fall or rally a survival plan?

Online Statistics
Section two is called Transfomation which talks about plans since 2008 (makeovers, audiobooks, ebooks). Next comes Budget and after that Consultation. There is one section called Informing local people (4.11) which talks about radio, TV and newspapers. 

Then this, In addition to traditional methods such as roadshows and meetings, we used less formal ways to engage hard-to-reach groups who could be affected by the proposed changes - including Twitter and, for the first time, a consultation 'blog' (4.11.5). I'm speechless, this is 2011, the whole reason libraries are finding it tough is because there is a massive increase in online use. And then, some bright spark calls blog readers and twitter users hard-to-reach groups. And then it says a few tweets reached 56,190 followers (4.11.6).

Try this from the Key Findings (pp19-20): 5.2 Summary of results from consultation questionnaire

• 4,977 questionnaires were returned (55% on paper and 45% online)
• 94% of these were from individual library customers
• 3,098 (62.2%) of responses related to an individual library
• Two-thirds of respondents were female
• Nearly 40% were over 65 and almost 60% between 25 and 64
• Over half of respondents understood why the Council needs to make changes
• A third said the proposed changes would have a significant impact on them
• 40% said the changes would have some impact, and a fifth said none
• Two-thirds said they would still be able to access a library
• More than half said they would be able to access library services online
• Over 40% would be interested in using a community library and a third not
• 910 respondents said they were interested in volunteering

5.3 We received 15 petitions containing more than 10,000 signatures:

Baddesley 339
Bedworth Heath 102
Bidford 525
Binley Woods 718
Bulkington 3399
Camp Hill 150
Dordon Primary School 117
Dunchurch 1403
Henley 807
Hartshill 181
Keresley 289
Kingsbury 873
Studley 700
Water Orton 256
Othello mobile (Bedworth) 182
Total signatures 10,041

So, far from reading half of the report, and the facts I have seen, there is a large shadow of REASONABLE DOUBT that closing 16 libraries cannot be a good idea. For example, the public want their libraries to STAY OPEN

Section 6 Submissions for Running a Community Run Library (p 17) and the Community Business Case. To read page 26 and see the names of actual members of the Public, Church Reverends, Councillors and Charity Groups is a moving experience. You can almost hear the group discussions and feel the energy of these committed and courageous people. I do know that many local MPs assisted too, but they are not named.

Hold the Phone: 6.15 Evaluation Process Outcome states there are only six submissions which had provided business cases. They were: Baddesley Ensor, Binley Woods, Bulkington, Harbury, Kingsbury and Studley.

This contrasts with the very public and PR Spun Press Release of: Sixteen communities have come forward expressing an interest in running their own libraries and we are looking to see if those business cases can happen. They could have easily said, we have 6 out of 16 that are looking good - but WCC didn't (38% looks like a figure best left buried). What they did say was all Community Groups have an extension until Friday 19 August 2011.

The next section is 7 Impact on Employees. This one did make the news. The Preference Form (7.4), I have been unofficially told will be available from 23 July 2011. Page 32-33 give some very detailed 8 Financial, 9 Legal and 10 Property statements - I'm not even going to begin to dissect those (at this stage).

And finally, 12 Conclusion: the future (p 39). 12.10 states, Libraries will continue to be a brand people can trust - where did that statement come from, where does it fit in and what relevance does it have? In my view, it must be from some training course somewhere on public relations or customer service. What I do agree on is that times and therefore libraries must change and use technology (12.1/2).

Well that's it for this section. We've walked 13 metres (out of the 97m) which is 13% or page 43 of 326. No idea what I'm referring to, then - go back and read Part 01.

STOP HS2 Information Shop at The Kenilworth Business Centre in Warwick Road

UPDATE 7 July 2011: Council allows HS2 rail line protesters free use of Kenilworth building for national headquarters (Coventry Telegraph)

Those people still looking for information on HS2 will be pleased to know The Kenilworth Business Centre has been used as a window display. This building has been vacant for many years.

If you know something about how it may be used again, please get in touch. I do know it was mentioned in plans to re-site Buildbase if Kenilworth Railway Station had been given the go ahead.

Joe Rukin STOP HS2 to wiKenilworth on New HS2 Headquaters (mp3)

  Joe Rukin STOP HS2 to wiKenilworth on New HS2 Headquaters by wiKenilworth
Joe Rukin explained, 'That's why this is a bit of a one-off situation. The building as stated was bought to relocate Buildbase into as part of the Kenilworth Station project. Because the Govt didn't come up with the funding for that, the Council are a bit stuck with a building they can't do anything with - they can't take a commercial tenant in case the do get the funding, so have agreed to let us have it rather than leave it empty. 
There will be a working party to clear up and accept donations of furnature this Saturday from 10.40 (9th July) and we are aiming at an official opening on the 16th. 

WCC Library Report Part 02 - 11 Recommendations: Welcome to Google

Google Welcomes the Report
Jump to:  Making Sense of the WCC Library Report Part 01

In this post, we explore the opening sections of the report and extract anything that is important. I would like to call them highlights, but for library campaigners and library staff - lowlights may be a better word.

Contents of 326 pages: Agenda (pages 1-5: 5 pages), Libraries Report (pages 6-43: 38 Pages): LIBRARY REPORT (now at Google Docs) Note: page numbers (in this post) refer to the pdf document.

Page 6: Recommendations: 1. That this committee considers and comments upon the contents of the report which will be submitted to Cabinet which meets on 14 July 2011.

Page 10, Starts a 37 page Libraries Report. The cabinet recommendations are written at the start and at the end. Why do this? WCC may say to give the councillors a summary. Surely, it's read the report first and then think about the action

I am trying to think of a reasonable example where you are told to make a decision, before you hear the evidence. Is there one? Even in the many court room movies we've all watched, the prosecutor's says, 'He's guilty Your Honour!' and the defence always steps up, as quick as a flash, saying, 'He's innocent as the day he was born!' Debate for another day I'm sure.

Here are the 11 recommendations in full. When I post them here at wiK they will be Google searchable (bringing the information to the masses). Previously, they existed in a pdf document (public, but hidden from google). This is a big issue - it's a like going to a clothes shop and knowing they have socks in your size, but no one will help you look.

Recommendations in full (with yellow annotations from wiK) - That Cabinet:
1 Authorises the Strategic Director for Resources and the Head of Customer Service to implement arrangements to reduce the total opening hours of Atherstone, Coleshill, Bedworth, Nuneaton, Rugby, Leamington, Kenilworth, Lillington, Whitnash, Alcester, Shipston, Southam, Stratford and Wellesbourne libraries as set out in section 11 of this report subject to recommendations 3 and 4 below. Implementation to be as soon as possible and by 1 April 2012 at the latest.
2 Agrees that the pattern of opening hours at each of the libraries referred to in recommendation 1 will be determined following consultation with the public.
3 Agrees that wherever possible the services of volunteers should be used to increase the opening hours of the libraries referred to in recommendation 1 above the proposed minimum level set out in section 11 of the report.
4 Agrees that discussions should take place with Warwick District Council to implement integrated working at Kenilworth, Lillington and Whitnash and with Warwickshire Police regarding Coleshill, to seek to increase the opening hours above the proposed minimum level set out in Section 11 of the report.
5 Approves extending the deadline for finalisation of all community-run library bids to Friday 19 August 2011, with a further report being presented to Cabinet in October 2011.
6 Agrees that the Warwickshire Direct/library arrangements at Stockingford should be reviewed with a further report to Cabinet in October 2011.
7 Agrees that proposals for a reconfigured mobile service is presented to Cabinet in October 2011.
8 Agrees to reallocate £100,000 of capital funding in 2011/12 previously approved for One Stop Shop expansion to provide a capital fund available to communities wishing to set up community-run libraries.
9 Notes the financial impact of deferring decisions on the achievement of the savings plan and also note that over the three years of the overall Medium Term Financial Plan (MTFP) that £143,000 of savings has been double counted between Libraries and Physical Assets, which should lie with the property rationalisation programme. Cabinet should reiterate that the 2011/12 savings for these areas remain, or identify compensating savings elsewhere, whilst noting that the MTFP will need to be refreshed for 2012/13 onwards for the impact of any double counting of savings.
10 Agrees that the Book / Stock Fund should not be reduced any further.
11 Supports the consultation with staff and notes that staffing reductions will be implemented in accordance with the Council’s agreed policies.
Note: if some parts above are not highlighted, that's because I do not regard them as unimportant, it's just, I do not understand them and will read the report...

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