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Monday, 14 March 2016

Brent Library Strategy At Last

As well as making half the savings were foisted on it by the last Budget process through efficiency, Brent Libraries are finally consulting on a strategy _although it goes under the title of a "cultural strategy" rather than a library one.  It is nice to see the new document acknowledges its debt to the Libraries Transformation Project

It has some interesting comments on "community libraries" i.e. volunteer libraries.  It states:

"There are a number of ways in which the council can offer support at no cost, one example being potential partnership arrangements with community run libraries. The council can offer advice on running libraries and provide information on external sources of funding for which community groups may be eligible to bid. Online access to resources could be made available and a deposit collection of books could be provided on a regular basis. Officers can also work jointly with community libraries to promote national and regional reading and learning events."

I am not at all sure that these suggestions would involve "no cost" at least if you consider the time and expertise of paid Council officers as being a cost.  Elsewhere in the country there have been problems with these sort of arrangement as the volunteer libraries have unrealistic expectations of the time and resources can be allocated.  The danger is that staff time sorting out what ever is going on in the volunteer libraries detracts from activity in Brent's statutory library service.  Given past enthusiasm by some of the library groups for litigation, I would think any ambiguity would be a cause of concern.Being subject to litigation can cause all sorts of costs and administrative problems even when the Courts decide entirely in your favour.

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