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January 26, 2013

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Christopher Pipe

To be fair, Mr Taylor claims his company is a not-for-profit organisation that helps the elderly and the unemployed to get onto computers. I can imagine they could do that, though it doesn't mean they're necessarily running what you and I would call a library service.

Totally agree about the "community library" misnomer. It seems to be a fad to call everything "community" and think that'll make people think it's somehow better (than what? a job done properly?).

Liz

My friend's daughter has been searching for work since graduating last summer with limited success other than a temp Christmas job. She's applied to Asda three times without getting anywhere as apparently they had no jobs. She's now being sent there on a Workfare placement. Guess what? Yep right, they still have no jobs going. ......

Diana Nutting

Well said, Phil

Alan Wylie

I totally agree with you Phil on the 'Workfare' issue it's a verry worrying trend creeping into the Public Sector, although i don't know if you can really class the 'eco-libraries' as Public Sector, that's the whole problem the sector is becoming so fragmented! Did you see the comment left by one of his volunteers on the Guardian website a while ago http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2012/sep/05/library-closures-ed-vaizey?CMP=twt_gu
“Funnily enough, I volunteer at one of the Lewisham branches mentioned so I have some insight into this. While the volunteers, particularly the full-timers, are trying their best, it’s simply impossible to provide a proper service when you rely on a rolling procession of people who have never worked with books and who don’t know about basic library procedures. To make matters worse, the company running the library is cheap enough that they refuse to even fix the toilets, meaning the staff often have to go round the corner to a bar or coffee shop instead. And of course the supply of new books has been effectively stopped with staff unsure whether the books still there will be transferred to other Lewisham libraries or not (because giving council property to a private company would of course be completely unfeasible). If there are less people using the libraries, it’s because the service has deteriorated because of the government’s negligence, not because the customers (many of which are elderly, vulnerable or parents of small children, who live nearby and who can’t feasibly reach another of the borough’s libraries) don’t want a library service.” OttoMaddox (Guardian comment)

Ferelith Hordon

Hear, Hear...it not only does a disservice to those for whom it is a career - but it gives genuine volunteering (in circunstances where ity i legitimate and needed) a very bad name.

Anonymous Librarian

So "any public library is *already* a community library - because it is in a community and for a community." Surely this is doubel-speak.

'In a community' is geography - many of the new libraries are better situated than their predecssors. 'For a community': as opposed to what? This soundbite is completely meaningless.

Lewisham exists because the old model of services provided by local councils is no longer tenable, financially or democratically.

The new libraries aren't as 'good' in many ways as their predecessors from a professional pov but sometimes and in some ways they are better. The staff involved are much more committed than many of the old council employees - they have to be.

Perhaps we're scared of the possible truth - community libraries won't work because communities don't actually want them enough. People in Lewisham are trying to swim against that tide - good luck to them

Lewisham Barry

Alan, do you live in Lewisham? No you do not. So stop telling us what we shold or shouldn't think. Given the scale of cuts visited upon us in this borough there were always going to be less libraries and less librarians. That the council managed to find a way to keep local libraries open is to be praised not criticised, unless of course you think we should have cut other things as well. Maybe we should have kept 11 libraries open and shut Sure Start Centres, or schools, or reduced social services provision? Come on, you've got all the answers so tell us.

Caryn Wesner-Early

Anonymous Librarian and Lewisham Barry, your comments would have a lot more credibility if you had given your real names, as most people commenting on this blog do. There is no way to tell if you are affiliated with the private company running this library, so we have no choice but to discount your opinions.

Alisha

Maybe Mr. Bradley I can provide you with some insight. I am a volunteer at Eco - a non-profit organisation. I am currently undertaking a Customer Service course and I am hoping to undertake a first aid course. Also, I am being trained in understanding how to quality assure computers and knowing the ins and outs of the software and hardware, something I love! All, may I add, for free!

Initially I was working in the library, but the Darren is flexible so I have been transferred to a department that I feel will help me get on the working ladder.

I think that today, you have to make do with what you have been given. It seems that we want things on a silver platter without doing the hard work for it. Yes, volunteering in a library is not how I envisioned staring working life, but without the experience or qualifications employers want, I've got to start somewhere.

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