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More on staffless libraries… October 18, 2016

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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Thanks to the person who forwarded this:

‘Staffless Libraries’ meeting for Galway – Ó Clochartaigh

Due to growing concerns around the rollout of ‘staffless libraries’, Senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh is organising a public meeting in Galway to discuss the pro’s and con’s of this new policy.

Speaking today the Galway West – South Mayo Senator says:

‘Concerns have been raised with me about the rollout of this new policy which sees libraries opened on a ‘self-service’ basis after hours. The pilot project which has been run in counties Offaly & Sligo is now to be piloted in Galway in the Ballinasloe and Oranmore libraries.

‘The Local Government Management Agency who are spearheading the initiative and the county council who operate our library services say that this new departure will allow for increased access to the services during unstaffed hours.

‘The ‘Staff Our Libraries’ campaign who are opposed to the development say that they want to keep libraries ‘staffed, safe and open to all’ and that they believe the new approach does not support that.

‘I am organising a public meeting in the Westwood Hotel on Monday the 24th October at 8pm to discuss the matter. I have invited the Local Government Management Agency, Galway County Council and the ‘Staff Our Libraries’ campaign to send representatives. I am also inviting all the public representatives in the area to attend.

‘We hope to be joined by a number of literary figures as well who have voiced their concerns over recent weeks in relation to the future of our libraries.

‘I am asking members of the public and particularly library users who are interested in this issue to join us as well, to inform themselves as to what is being proposed and to make their views known to the relevant people.

‘The one thing we all agree on is that the library services we do have play a really important role in our communities and that anything that can be done to enhance and develop them in a positive way would be welcome’.

Cruinniú faoi ‘Leabharlanna Féinfhreastail’ dhá eagrú i nGaillimh – Ó Clochartaigh

De bharr imní leanúnach a bheith dhá léiriú maidir le forbairt ‘leabharlanna gan foirne’, tá an Seanadóir Trevor Ó Clochartaigh ag eagrú cruinniú poiblí i nGaillimh leis na buntáistí agus mí-bhuntáistí don gcur chuige nua polasaí seo a phlé.

Ag labhairt dó inniu deir Seanadóir Ghaillimh Thiar – Maigh Eo Theas:

‘Tá imní léirithe liom maidir leis an gcur chuige nua seo ó thaobh seirbhísí leabharlanna di, a d’fhágfadh oscailte iad faoi chóras féin-fhreastal i ndiaidh gnáth uaireanta oscailte. Bhí tionscnamh phíolóta den chineál seo ar bun i gcontaetha Uíbh Fhailí agus Sligeach agus táthar anois chun é a thriail amach i leabharlanna an Uarán Mór agus Béal Átha na Slua, i nGaillimh.

‘Deir an Ghníomhaireacht Bainistíochta Rialtais Áitiúil, atá ag cur an tionscnamh nua seo chun cinn, agus an Chomhairle Chontae a bhíonn ag bainistiú ár seirbhísí leabharlainne go gciallaíonn an fhorbairt seo gur féidir breis rochtain do na leabharlanna a chur ar fáil ag amanna nach mbeidh foireann ag teastáil.

‘Deir urlabhraithe an fheachtas ‘Staff Our Libraries’ atá i gcoinne na h-athruithe seo, go bhfuil siadsan ag iarraidh go gcoinneofar na leabharlanna ‘sábháilte, le baill fóirne I láthair agus oscailte do chách’ rud nach féidir a mhaíomh dar leo, faoin leagan amach nua.

‘Tá mé ag eagrú cruinniú poiblí in Óstán an Westwood i nGaillimh, ag a 8 a chlog ar an Luan 24ú Deireadh Fómhair leis an gceist a phlé. Tá cuireadh tugtha agam d’ionadaithe ón nGníomhaireacht Bainistíochta Rialtais Áitiúil, Comhairle Chontae na Gaillimhe agus ón bhfeachtas ‘Staff Our Libraries’ chun freastal ar an gcruinniú. Tá cuireadh dhá thabhairt chomh maith d’ionadaithe tofa na Gaillimhe ar fad.

‘Tá súil agaim go mbeidh pearsain linn chomh maith ó shaol na litríochta, a bhfuil a n-imní léirithe acu le tamall anuas maidir le todhchaí ár leabharlanna poiblí.

‘Tá mé ag iarraidh ar an bpobal, ach go h-áirithe iad siúd a úsáideann na leabharlanna agus a bhfuil suim acu san ábhar seo, freastal ar an gcruinniú le h-eolas a fháil dóibh féin faoina bhfuil beartaithe agus a gcuid tuairimí féin ina leith seo a chur in iúl do na daoine cuí.

‘An t-aon rud a aontaíonn muid ar fad faoi ná an ról tábhachtach atá ag na seirbhísí leabharlainne inár bpobail agus más féidir rud ar bith a dhéanamh le feabhas a chur orthu ar bhealach dearfach go bhfáilteofar roimhe sin’.

Comments»

1. dublinstreams - December 1, 2016

the gov say that the “open libraries” campaign doens’t involve a cuts to staff numbers or staffed opening hours, but have they cut staff and opening hours across the country recently in the last few years?

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Joe - December 1, 2016

Effectively yes, they have. There has been an embargo on recruitment in the public service for the last maybe eight years. So any library staff who left or retired were not replaced. County librarian positions were left unfilled. So less staff available so the councils would probably have curtailed the service/opening hours on foot of this – though I don’t have any data or figures on that and it would have been sold as a ‘re-organisation’ or somesuch as opposed to a curtailment.
Sinn Féin have started a campaign on this issue. I see Senator Fintan Warfield leading out on it and Ó Clochartaigh’s meetings in Galway will probably be replicated around the country. Fair play to them, they’ve come a way since that misguided volunteer left one of his/her incendiaries in the treasured Linenhall Library in Belfast and nearly burned it down.
Sorry, I just couldn’t stop myself on that last nark. Fair play to SF for this campaign though, in fairness.

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2. Logan - December 1, 2016

I agree that staffless libraries as an excuse to cut staff numbers and services should be resisted, but I would counsel against staff getting cornered into a situation of being “Luddite” about these changes, which will come eventually in five or ten or twenty years anyway – as soon as libraries brought in the technology for people to scan in and out their own books, this sort of expansion of the service became inevitable. The question I think unions must ask is not “We must fight this change” but “How to we manage it?”
My closest library used to be Kevin St library in the Dublin City service (before it closed “temporarily” for renovation – three years ago!).
I think that before it closed, it was open maybe one evening a week. Otherwise 10 to 5 three days a week and Saturday. As I work office hours it meant that I could only really go on Saturday, if I missed that, I had to trudge into the Ilac Centre (dont have a car) or wait till the next Saturday to leave back books, etc.
Not the most inconvenient thing in the world, I will admit, but it would have been handy if it had been open, even staffless, on evenings and Sundays. Would have been handy to nip in to return books on a Sunday morning if I was busy on Saturday.
At the moment I think no Dublin City library is open Sundays, so a staffless service would be an “improvement” there, in straightforward terms.
Do the staff campaigning have any ideas of there own about how the new technologies could expand opening hours, services, etc, or is the campaign just going to be resistance to the change due to the threats of “easy” savings by the administration by cutting staff? In fairness, I think that staff have reason to be suspicious on these matters, but I could imagine, once the campaign gets going, it could be a difficult sell to go into a radio studio up against a County Librarian who is claiming it “will only be used to open the libraries on Sundays’ etc., sure who could be against that”…

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Joe - December 2, 2016

Good points well made, Logan.
It shouldn’t be a blanket ‘we’re not having this’ approach. No point, as you point out, in having libraries only open when most people are at work.

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3. Logan - December 1, 2016

“their own”, I meant in the last paragraph, damn the lack on an edit function!

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