As part of the budget cuts for 2011/12 Southampton City Council plan to delete the posts of 7.7 library assistants and close the branch libraries in the Millbrook and Thornhill estates, which are 2 poorer areas of Southampton, as part of a regeneration scheme.
To justify these cuts the council want to implement the ‘Big Society’ onto the service by using unpaid volunteers to replace the work of paid staff and are only willing to reopen the closed branches if a community group offers to help.
Staff are opposed to these plans and have already taken 3 days industrial action in protest, as well as running a paper petition and a leafleting campaign. They are backed by the Library Association who states in its guidelines ‘Involving volunteers in Public Libraries’
"The Library Association is totally opposed to the introduction of voluntary labour in an attempt to compensate for the reduction or withdrawal of services caused by redundancies, non-filling of vacant posts or inadequate staffing of establishments."
Libraries have a key role in education, access to reading, online facilities, community use and much more. Volunteers are no substitute for experienced, knowledgeable, well trained staff who have pride in and love their library service. The branch libraries in Millbrook and Thornhill are a vital resource to the community where there are very few facilities left. Their permanent closure will deprive the children and their parents a friendly and safe place to go after school.
Please sign this petition to ask the City councillors to oppose the use of volunteers to replace staff and to guarantee to reopen Millbrook and Thornhill libraries with paid staff.
We, the supporters of Southampton libraries, call upon Southampton City councillors to:
• oppose any proposals by the council to replace or substitute library staff with volunteers.
• oppose the closure of Millbrook, Thornhill or any other branch libraries.
• guarantee existing paid staff presence must be maintained in Millbrook and Thornhill Libraries once the two sites have been redeveloped.
The Love your Southampton libraries petition to Southampton City councillors was written by Claire and is in the category Local Government at GoPetition.