Let’s face it, if the Conservatives get in next time then libraries as we know them are gone. Public Libraries News Special on Sieghart: The Independent Library Report
This is a well judged analysis of the report, coupled with a look at the press coverage. The most worrying aspect to me is the person chairing the new library task force .
…so it is worth noting that it will be chaired by Paul Blantern, head of Northamptonshire County Council. For an idea of what Northamptonshire believes, check out this article entitled Almost like a PLC. The chosen strategy is to shrink the council as much as possible, outsourcing (or “rightsourcing” – did they just make that up?) as much as possible. This is going to mean a lot of non-profit trusts and semi-commercial thinking going on there.
The Guardian reports on Northamptonshire’s vision as follows.
The core services that for decades have defined what a council does, will no longer be umbilically attached to the town hall. All services, including child protection, and those for the elderly will be hived off into staff-run mutual companies, social enterprises or private firms. An authority that now employs 4,000 staff would, by 2020, employ just 150.
“It is no exaggeration to say this is the biggest transformation of services in Northamptonshire since the creation of this council 125 years ago,” its Conservative leader, Jim Harker, claimed this week
There’s really nothing to inspire any hope of a good outcome for libraries if this is the route chosen.