THE new report into libraries appears to propose a collection of ad hoc arrangements cobbled together in the face of the public outrage at LiveWire’s closure programme.
Let’s not be gulled into believing that the brief details are anything other than the usual soothing noises about possibilities here and there.
It’s typical of LiveWire to peddle such stuff in its hurry to distract from its own inability to manage our library service, which is disintegrating before our eyes. Our councillors should treat the cause not the symptoms.
Libraries are under such budget pressures because LiveWire has unashamedly milked them in order to cover its commercial losses.
Only last month Companies House published LiveWire’s annual accounts and we read that LiveWire posted a loss of ££454,000 last year.
We also calculate from the council’s medium term financial plan that libraries have born the brunt (around 80 per cent) of the annual savings targets that the council has handed to LiveWire. Protect the commercial operations and hit the vulnerable statutory service: that is the LiveWire way.
Unfortunately the library budgets are not bottomless so last autumn LiveWire, with classical hubris, announced the closure programme.
It was stung and shocked by the public condemnation of that ragbag of measures.
What we need is a proper coherent strategy for that library service and that is clearly well beyond LiveWire for the simple reason that this organisation has no one on its board or its management team that has the requisite library qualifications, expertise or experience.
In short it is not competent to run our libraries.
The public have sought answers to questions since last September.
These enquiries have piled up in someone’s waste basket and the silence from LiveWire is deafening.
They never tell you anything that they don’t want you to know.
So here is an appeal to our councillors; don’t waste time with this report.
Instead, arrange an all party committee, that is open to the public, to look at LiveWire’s record, its performance, competence and integrity with regard to our library service.
LiveWire had lost the trust of local people.
GARY BORROWS Lower Stretton