If you follow the national news you might have seen the BBC’s report on Tuesday about the cuts to library staff over the last six years.
They revealed that “almost 8,000 jobs in UK libraries have disappeared in six years, about a quarter of the overall total”.
Here on the Isle of Wight the figures are rather more stark with more than half of library staff losing their jobs.
The picture in 2010
On 1st April 2010, the Isle of Wight library service had 20 full-time staff and ten relief staff.
There were 51 part time staff (this included six Saturday assistants and eleven Sunday assistants on weekly hours of seven or less).
That’s a total of 81 staff.
Where we are today
Fast forward to 1 April 2016 the number of full-time has dropped to 14, whilst relief staff are reduced to nine.
The part-time roles have been hit the hardest with just 13 remaining (plus one funded by Ventnor Town Council).
That’s a total of 36 staff.
Working in partnership with the town and parish councils
Isle of Wight Council Library Service Manager Rob Jones told OnTheWight,
“We are working hard to maintain the best library service we can within the available resources.
“We will continue to work in partnership with the town and parish councils and our community libraries in order to achieve this.”
Isle of Wight library service
The Isle of Wight council is still responsible for six libraries; Newport, Ryde, Sandown, Cowes, Ventnor and Freshwater.
Plans are being explored by the Isle of Wight council to work with parish and town councils to deliver ‘partnership services’ in Cowes, Freshwater and Ventnor.
There are five community libraries, East Cowes, Bembridge, Shanklin, Niton and Brighstone, along with a mobile library service and home library service.