The links below cover the background to the campaign. On this page you will find links to news articles, Surrey County Council statements regarding the changes/cuts to the library service and blog posts/sites discussing the situation. In general the oldest links appear at the bottom of the page and more recent at the top.
Pdf download of news article about Surrey Libraries plans. (Single page only pdf loads much quicker than full magazine)
Pdf download of news article discussing Surrey County council plans for the library service. (This full pdf takes time to load – try the single page pdf link above)
Article about protest/lobby at County Hall on 26 July 2011. “More than 100 protesters descended on County Hall in Kingston on Tuesday to show their support for the 11 Surrey libraries at risk of closure. Representatives from the vast majority of the under-threat facilities greeted Surrey County councillors as they turned up for a cabinet meeting.”
Cabinet webcast, including question re. future of libraries raised by Adi Screwvala and response from councillors.(25-37min)
Includes motion proposed by Councillor Eber Kington requesting that “the Council Leader and Cabinet… halt the current plans of removing staff from the selected libraries until the ongoing audit into this study is fully completed and the detailed results are made available for discussion” (Starts 2hr 35mins). The motion was rejected by the Council.
Article about protest outside County Hall on 26 July 2011. “PROTESTORS held posters and banners outside Surrey County Council headquarters, angry at proposals to create 11 volunteer run libraries in the county. According to a trade union leader Tuesday’s rally was considered the largest that has been held outside County Hall in Kingston. Between 80 and 100 representatives from the threatened libraries as well as Unison and Women’s Institute representatives, turned up to express their concern about the plans before a cabinet meeting.”
Blog post about lobby at Surrey County Hall (July 2011)
“What changes would you make to your local library if you were given the power?Would you alter the opening times? Hold fundraising events to support local causes? Or perhaps host online video talks with authors and experts from across the world?
The possibilities are endless, particularly with the introduction of free wi-fi in all Surrey libraries coming soon.
Eleven communities in the county have the chance to turn their ideas into a reality if they choose to help run their local library with us.
Already local people have come up with some great ideas, including changing opening times to cater for the commuter rush and setting up a parcel collection service.
The way people use libraries is changing. The service needs to adapt to the demands of modern lifestyles and the advent of new technology.
The introduction of free wi-fi and the hugely popular online library and ebook service are some of the ways we’re doing this.”
(Complete video text here http://bit.ly/napYCy )
In his latest blog Dr Andrew Povey, Leader of Surrey County Council discusses libraries.
Article on County Council website discussing ideas for 11 libraries which the Council are passing over to volunteers to manage.
“The county council has begun talks with communities in 11 areas where it wants to devolve day-to-day management of libraries it says are less well used.”
“The county council has said devolving responsibilities at its 52 libraries would help save £400,000 a year and prevent any closures.Unison said representatives from all of Surrey’s threatened libraries had held a “council of war”.The union said the council proposals were flawed, there had been no open public consultation, and the council had only used financial criteria and had not considered social and community issues.”
Details of County Council plan for the library service. A meeting on 27th Sept. 2011 will discuss the outcome of the Library Service consultation & consider a progress report following the consultation.
News article comparing Gloucestershire and Surrey library plans.
“A Surrey County Council spokesman said there were differences between the Gloucester and Surrey proposals and that Surrey’s plans would continue unaffected.She said: “Our understanding is that the Gloucestershire model involves the transfer of assets and the buy-back of county services and they are seeking to achieve a target of 43 per cent savings on costs.”It is therefore a much more severe model than the one we are proposing.
She added: “We believe our model for community-partnered libraries is much more comprehensive than many of the arrangements being considered at a national level.
“We have made it clear that we intend to provide the most generous support package, covering everything short of frontline staff and to ensure community-partnered libraries remain fully integrated and supported within the Surrey library network.”
“Campaigners will descend upon County Hall next week to protest against plans that could see libraries either run by volunteers or axed.But library workers users and friends will lobby a meeting of the county council’s decision-making cabinet on July 26 with the message that communities need council libraries.
The lobby has been organised jointly between the Friends of Surrey Libraries and Surrey County Unison.”
Residents in Surrey sent an open letter to all councillors in the county, questioning the validity of the study proposing the closure of some libraries.
Data, maps and information about deprived areas of Surrey.
News article interview with Surrey County Council leader, Dr Andrew Povey.
“The, at times, controversial review has already seen changes proposed, such as a cull of underused bus routes, and “big society” plans for an army of volunteers to man libraries to secure their future.Cllr Povey, a proud and vocal supporter of the “big society”, told the Advertiser: “Everybody thinks, ‘The Government will do this for you.’ We’ve got to get away from that.”And Cllr Hodge added: “We’re asking ‘why are we doing this? Is there a public value? Is this value for money? Is there a different way we can do this?’”
“Opponents to plans that would see 11 libraries axed if volunteers can not be found to take over their running, have organised to form the Hands Off Surrey’s Libraries group.”
Unison affiliated page calling for people to join the lobby at Surrey County Hall on 26th July 2011.
“MORE than 100 people attended a meeting to recruit potential volunteers to run New Haw Library.A crisis summit was held at New Haw and Woodham Community Centre last Thursday, in which it was agreed a steering group will be put in place to oversee the switch to a volunteer-run service.”
Details of a UNISON meeting held in Guildford, to discuss concerns about proposals for changes to Surrey Libraries.
“@CllrAnnMarie It’s not #Surrey County Council’s policy to close libraries. People underestimate what #volunteers can do.”
“Fighting to save Surrey’s libraries…Readers, authors and union members are coming together.They’re against the County Council’s plans to get volunteers to run 11 rural libraries and axe the mobile library.
The authority says fewer people use the services these days and the move will save £180 million over four years.
Kelly is from Surrey Unison: “People were supporting their individual libraries and not working together so we started a joint Surrey-wide campaign.
“Our concerns are that it won’t stop here, there will be further libraries at risk if we don’t stop now.”
Paul, also from the union, said: “To be honest we see it as blackmailing the local community. If you can’t take over the running of the library yourself, the library will close.”
Download page linking to official Surrey publication “Safeguarding the future of Surrey’s libraries”, which provides brief details of proposed changes to the library service at the beginning of 2011.
Download page linking to official Surrey publication “A library for your community” detailing proposals for volunteer run libraries.
“We also discussed libraries and the enthusiastic response we have received to our call for community help in running and keeping our static libraries open. I then heard how communities from across the County have volunteered to help, and I’m delighted and not at all surprised that our residents have risen to this challenge so far.”
Surrey Libraries Review Goes With Original Decision (24 March 2011)
On March 1st 2011 Surrey County Council Cabinet debated ”Safer and Stronger Communities Committee” request for Cabinet to rethink the decision to turn eleven libraries into “community partnered libraries” (increased use of volunteers) and remove the mobile library service. The original decision was upheld by Cabinet.
The future of Surrey’s libraries
Details of criteria used to select 11 libraries to be run by volunteers inSurreyhttp://ht.ly/4hkXo (incs. links to documents)
Surrey Cabinet meeting covering discussion of library changes. This meeting followed the call-in of decisions by the Safer & Stronger Communities Scrutiny Committee. (Begins at Item 5. [00:16:30] Lavinia Sealy)
Report of Safer & Stronger Communities recommendations presented at Surrey C.C. Cabinet meeting (1 March 2011), following call-in meeting.
Official Surrey C.C. press release (3 March 2011).”The 11 libraries identified as possible community partnerships accounted for just 8% of items borrowed from all libraries and just over 7% of all visits countywide in 2009/10. Under the plans, the council would continue to provide the library building, stock and other resources, with community groups taking control of the day-to-day running…”
Blogger who set up petition to stop closure of Surrey mobile library service.
Surrey residents blog, which includes pointer to petition trying to stop closure of mobile library service.
Surrey Heath Residents blog article about plans to hand over 11 libraries to volunteers and to remove the mobile library service.
Article following budget meeting on 1st March 2011
Eagle article following 1st March 2011 budget meeting.
Budget meeting 1st March 2011 ignores Safer & Stronger recommendations.
Surrey County Council’s Safer and Stronger Communities Select Committee raised a challenge to the proposals for changes to the library service.
News article discussing the future of Surrey mobile library service.
Campaigning group set up to stop Byfleet Library from being handed over to volunteers.
News article about plans for local library, including details of Friends of Library group.
BBC report following Safer & Stronger Scrutiny Committee call-in meeting 22 February 2011.
Online newspaper article following Safer & Stronger Scrutiny Committee call-in meeting 22 February 2011.
Liberal Democrat blog post about Safer and Stronger Scrutiny Committee recommendations.
Get Surrey report on Safer and Stronger Communities Committee scrutiny call-in meeting held on 22nd Feb 2011.
Surrey County Council web page about Surrey’s libraries following meeting held on 1 February 2011.
Decision made at Surrey County Council Cabinet meeting (Feb 2011) about Surrey Libraries is ‘called in’ by Safer & Stronger Communities Committee.
Council Leader discusses Surrey cuts (including libraries) with Nick Wallace on BBC Surrey Radio.
David Munro, of Waverley Borough Council, expresses concern over proposed changes to Surrey’s library service.
Details of recommendations made by Surrey County Council following the Public Value Review.
“Worth a thought – will ebooks replace libraries? Don’t forget our virtual library is used 3m times a year and is Surrey’s fourth biggest.”
“Why doesn’t Gov let us charge for libraries? Could save money & provide more comprehensive services. Just my view http://tinyurl.com/69kkykk “
“I am confident that the Big Society will give everybody an opportunity to get involved in their local communities and we are therefore keen to explore options whereby libraries might be run by local residents themselves. This would represent an exciting opportunity for communities to really become involved in what they want from their local library – the Council will still provide the building and the books stock – but local people themselves would be able to run it and could possibly combine them with other services.”