Archive for August, 2011

S.L.A.M. has had a number of meetings over the past couple of months. From these meetings a range of plans and actions have been formulated.

This includes encouraging local people to write to MPs (list here), councillors (list here) and all other relevant people and organisations about the proposed changes to the public library service in Surrey.

A website, Facebook and Twitter account have been set up to encourage more people to get involved in the campaign and to keep everyone up to date with what is going on.

Details of what has happened over the past year in regard to the changes to the library service are being compiled by the group.

A local petition has been set up asking the county council to withdraw their current proposals and undertake a full public consultation.

Local campaigners have spoken to councillors and have submitted Freedom of Information requests regarding the council’s plans.

UNISON are key players in the campaign and have raised a motion highlighting their concerns about Surrey County Council’s proposals. Nationally UNISON have set up the “Love your libraries” campaign, in defence of public libraries.

The Women’s Institute are currently focusing on their “Love your libraries” campaign and are planning a range of high profile activities, including “W.I. Birthday Library Action Day” on 16 September 2011 and a national petition in defence of public libraries. As part of this “The Surrey Federation on W.I.s” are also involved in the Surrey campaign.

The campaign is also planning a number of events over the next couple of months to highlight the situation in Surrey.

If you want to get involved, the next meeting is on 6th September.


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The next S.L.A.M. meeting will be held on September 6th (8pm) at St. Mary’s Centre, Stream Close, Byfleet, West Byfleet, Surrey, KT14 7LZ

S.L.A.M. is planning a range of campaign events and action and needs as many people as possible to get involved.

Come along and find out about S.L.A.M.s aims and support the campaign on 6th September.

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The next S.L.A.M. meeting will be held on Tuesday 23rd August at 8pm.

Venue: St. Mary’s Centre, Stream Close, Byfleet, West Byfleet, Surrey, KT14 7LZ

The meeting will discuss the latest plans for the campaign and all are welcome to attend – even if your local library is not one of the eleven threatened libraries in Surrey.

Come along.

Get involved.

Save our libraries!

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The newly formed S.L.A.M. held its first meeting last week. The aim of the first meeting was to form the committee, plan the strategy and decide upon campaign action. The meeting was attended by representative campaigners from the eleven libraries affected by the changes, The Surrey Women’s Institute, UNISON and library staff.

Issues raised during the meeting included:

  1. Questioning the validity of the Public Value Review undertaken on the library service.
  2. The practicalities of the eleven volunteer run libraries being able to provide a full library service to the local community, based upon the fact that trained library staff/librarians will not be providing the service and a full I.T. library system will not be available to volunteers.
  3. Feedback on a meeting held between Surrey County Council and Byfleet Action Group. (further details to follow)
  4. The need to agree the wording for a motion that would be sent out to all libraries currently affected by the cuts, indicating that campaigners are not in agreement with Surrey County Council’s plans for the library service. Once agreed, the motion will be signed by campaigning groups and sent to Surrey County Council.
  5.  The formulation of plans for events/protests in the near future – not only to highlight Surrey County Council’s cuts, but also the value library users place upon a properly run library service.
This group is strongly opposed to Surrey County Council’s plans and will campaign for their local communities to be given the library service the County Council has a duty to provide, rather than accepting the current proposals they are offering.
The next meeting will be on 16 August.

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In 2010/2011 Surrey County Council Library Service underwent a public value review – details available here and here. As a result of this review the following recommendations were made to a Cabinet meeting on 1st February, 2011.

(1) To agree to work with Parish Councils, local charities, community groups and organisations, with the aim of inviting interest to establish community partnership at selected libraries, and co-designing and developing a Surrey model for locally managed and partnered libraries, with a progress report to Cabinet following the consultation period.

(2) That local committees lead in driving the community partnering approach for libraries forward.

(3) That consultation with existing users of the mobile library borrowers and equality advisory groups be agreed, to co-design a sustainable and value for money service including consideration of appropriate and affordable support to enable borrowers to continue to access library services, with a focus on using e-technology, community transport and voluntary driver schemes. This requires a proportion of savings to be redirected to providing alternatives. The actual cost will be unknown until consultation is completed, but initial estimates suggest a maximum total annual cost of £109,000 is required between 2012-13. It is expected that this sum would reduce by 15% per annum in 2013-14 and 2014-15. In 2012-13 net annual saving would be £330,000.

(4) That withdrawal of the mobile library service be agreed. Thereafter annual savings of £439,000 in library controllable expenditure savings and £7,000 in annual corporate savings (insurance and parking) would be achieved.

(5) That implementation of the action plan should start immediately, led by Peter Milton, Head of Library Services.

(6) That progress be reported on a quarterly basis to the PVR Steering Board and the Safer and Stronger Communities Select Committee.

(7) That the recommendations set out in the implementation action plan, attached to the submitted report, be agreed.

Reasons for decisions:

 To move the Public Value Review of Surrey Library Service into the consultation and implementation phase.

[The decisions on this item can be called in by the Safer and Stronger Communities Select Committee.]

In practice, this means that:

  • Eleven named libraries – Bagshot, Bramley, Byfleet, Ewell Court, Lingfield, Molesey, New Haw, Stoneleigh, Tattenhams, Virginia Water, Warlingham – are to be handed over to local communities to run.
  • All mobile libraries in Surrey are to be discontinued.

The recommendations were called in by the “Select Committee for Safer and Stronger Communities” on 8th February, 2011 by Councillors Wood (Liberal Democrats), Goodwin (Liberal Democrats) and Mason (Residents Association), as follows.


To review the decision by Cabinet on 1 February 2011 to implement the recommendations of the Libraries PVR to close the mobile library service and transfer libraries into community partnership.

The Select Committee debated the situation and requested Cabinet to rethink their decision to turn eleven libraries into “community partnered libraries” and remove the mobile library service. However, the original decision was upheld by Cabinet and the full webcast of the meeting can be viewed here (15:56 – 1:11:38).

Following this decision, a number of campaign groups formed to fight these changes.

Amongst other things, campaigners from the libraries currently under threat have been asking:

  • Why these libraries were chosen?
  • What will happen if volunteers do not take over responsibility for running their local library? Will it be closed? No clear information has been given about the future of these libraries if volunteers do not take them over.
  • Will eleven libraries be the start? Even though eleven libraries have been named,  the County Council is offering other libraries to community groups.
  • Why trained professional staff are being removed from libraries to be replaced by untrained volunteers?
  • Will savings be made?
Surrey Libraries Action Movement (S.L.A.M.) has now been formed to help co-ordinate countywide campaigning activities and this site will keep you up-to-date with what is going on.
If you would like to know more about the campaign, or get involved, please contact us, even if your local library isn’t one of those named above.

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