Many thanks to Richard Beet for this report from Wednesday night’s meeting to discuss the future of Bembridge Library. Ed
Co-operate with Isle of Wight Council to save Bembridge Library yet work to support a legal challenge to stop it from closing island libraries “¦ that’s the twin strategy for the newly-formed Bembridge Library Users Association agreed at a packed meeting on Wednesday night at Bembridge Bowls Club organised by the Association’s steering committee.
According to chairman, Keith Fagan, the council is placing impossibly short and unrealistic timescales on the Association, expecting it to make decisions based on scant information.
Written assurances needed
He said, “Before committing ourselves, we need written assurances on a range of issues from the urgent need to renew the lease to employment legislation, from IT management to lending rights and volunteer training. We will not be in a position to start until the lease and employment issues can be resolved.
“There is no way in which we could implement measures to ensure the safe and legal running of such an operation by 1 July, let alone 1 April. A year would not be unreasonable.”
Moving library rejected
The Association agreed to work towards maintaining library services at the existing location subject to certain conditions and assurances from Isle of Wight Council. A proposal to support a suggestion to resite the library to the Steyne Park Community Centre was rejected.
Vice-chairman Peter Pickworth said that the library at the current site was at heart of the village and is vital to the survival of the Bembridge Heritage Centre, which shares some of the accommodation and has an agreement with the Council.
Said Peter: “We also agreed to support the island-wide campaign to mount a legal challenge through law firm Leigh Day against the IWC decision to close libraries on the grounds that it is lacking in its duty under the Public Libraries and Museums Act 1964. There are two potential courses of action here and we will be studying the merits of both.”
96% satisfaction of library users
Despite describing Bembridge as a failing library, IWC’s own figures reveal that in the financial year 2009/10, there were 45,604 recorded visits to the library, 37,215 issues and an adult satisfaction rating of 96 per cent.
Talks with Astrid Davies, manager for strategic partnerships at IWC, will take place next week. “We have a long list of questions which we hope Astrid can answer,” said Keith.
For queries about this release please contact Richard Beet on 875557 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For queries relating to the Bembridge Library Users Association, call the chairman, Keith Fagan on 874879 or email email@example.com