Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Official appointed to work with libraries

A CO-ORDINATOR has been appointed to help run libraries in Oxfordshire that are facing staff cuts.

A CO-ORDINATOR has been appointed to help run libraries in Oxfordshire that are facing staff cuts.

The county council is cutting staff funding by half at 16 libraries, including those in Sonning Common, Woodcote, Goring, Watlington and Benson.

The co-ordinator will be paid £34,549 for “developing a working relationship” with communities and library friends groups in order to find volunteers to fill the shortfall in staff hours.

The post was first advertised in April last year but an appointment was not made until last month despite the role being described as “central” to the council’s reforms.

A council spokesman said the co-ordinator had not yet started work as they were serving a period of notice with their current employer.

He added: “The library service manager has the lead and responsibility for our partnership work with communities.

“She is meeting friends groups around Oxfordshire and these meetings have been positive.

“Our plans are on track and we are happy with the progress made so far.

“The co-ordinator role will play a significant part in developing the working relationship with the friends groups and communities.”

Dave Rushton, who chairs the Friends of Benson Library, said: “Once this person is in post, then we should be able to make progress on what is expected of library volunteers, the training to be provided and associated issues.” Philip Pinney, chairman of the Friends of Watlington Library, said: “We do not know who the person is or when he or she will start.

“However, we are looking forward to meeting them to start discussions about the future of the library.”

Ros Varnes, who chairs the Friends of Sonning Common Library, said: “We are going to have our self-service machine installed in February but the county council has said it is not looking to see changes introduced here before the beginning of 2014.”

She said the group would help recruit volunteers before the staff reductions took effect.

Vicky Jordan, who chairs the Our Woodcote Library campaign group, said the group was to hold its annual meeting in March when it would discuss the appointment.

The county council originally planned to withdraw funding from 20 of its 43 libraries, sparking a public backlash and claims that the cuts were biased against libraries in rural communities.

He added: “The library service manager has the lead and responsibility for our partnership work with communities.

“She is meeting friends groups around Oxfordshire and these meetings have been positive.

“Our plans are on track and we are happy with the progress made so far.

“The co-ordinator role will play a significant part in developing the working relationship with the friends groups and communities.”

Dave Rushton, who chairs the Friends of Benson Library, said: “Once this person is in post, then we should be able to make progress on what is expected of library volunteers, the training to be provided and associated issues.” Philip Pinney, chairman of the Friends of Watlington Library, said: “We do not know who the person is or when he or she will start.

“However, we are looking forward to meeting them to start discussions about the future of the library.”

Ros Varnes, who chairs the Friends of Sonning Common Library, said: “We are going to have our self-service machine installed in February but the county council has said it is not looking to see changes introduced here before the beginning of 2014.”

She said the group would help recruit volunteers before the staff reductions took effect.

Vicky Jordan, who chairs the Our Woodcote Library campaign group, said the group was to hold its annual meeting in March when it would discuss the appointment.

The county council originally planned to withdraw funding from 20 of its 43 libraries, sparking a public backlash and claims that the cuts were biased against libraries in rural communities.

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