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Friday, 5 August 2011

Library users have been denied say on future

A local resident wrote to the Croydon Guardian to express concern at the complete lack of information available to Croydon residents on libraries, Kept in the dark over Croydon LibrariesThis was responded to by Councillor Eddy Arram, reproduced here, who refuted Ms Parry's claims, so the campaign group responded and are pleased to be included in the Croydon Guardian letter page this week:
I was very surprised by Councillor Eddy Arram’s letter (We have listened and are responding over libraries, July 20) which was written in reply to Ms Parry’s excellent letter.  
Like Ms Parry I share the concern that residents are being kept in the dark over libraries. The decision to market test involves all 13 libraries and not just the six that were the subject of the original consultation. 
Residents are yet to see one official notification of this decision so many are still unaware.  Not even a simple A4 notice has been spotted in any Croydon library. 
Even national campaigners, such as Public Libraries News, point to Croydon’s reticence to be proud of the decision and note that the market sounding exercise was almost impossible to find on the council's website, and there was only a fortnight for private companies to register an interest in any case.  
The cross party commission into libraries offered by Labour would have been a productive move and have given all residents a say in the future of libraries and the opportunity to explore all options yet Coun Arram seems to think to do so would disregard the views of all those who have already responded. It would not have meant disregarding what has already been said - as surely this would be a major contribution to the process - but would allow those who had not responded, and particularly users of libraries not subject to the original consultation process, an opportunity to have their say.
Residents spoke up in their thousands and the council is ‘listening’ by disregarding what they said, denying users of the other seven libraries a say and hiding their decision.  I think that certainly counts as keeping residents in the dark! 
Elizabeth Ash 
Sanderstead Library Campaign Group

But why do campaigners believe that many residents are being denied a say and the council is disregarding what residents have told them?  We'll be following that up in our next post...

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