WE were delighted to read in the Barry and District News (May 22, page 3, ‘Library proposals could be “death by a thousand cuts”’) that the council’s scrutiny meeting referred the report on the future of four local libraries back to cabinet.
It had been a major disappointment to hear of the plans to diminish the service that these four libraries offer to local residents. In the case of Wenvoe we are particularly dismayed as the developer has offered, as part of the application for new housing, a considerable sum towards enhancement of the village library service. The Vale of Glamorgan proposals also implied that before our librarian lost her job she would be asked to recruit and train local volunteers to take her place. We feel that’s an appalling position to put any employee in. Anyone who has been involved in working in communities to empower, enable and train volunteers know it’s a long and ongoing process. Volunteers need to be treated fairly and offered regular training and supervision. It is by no means a cheap option. There are as many examples of libraries run by volunteers in the UK that are failing as there are succeeding.
So we, and other library users, would like to know:
In making the paid librarian redundant and replacing her with volunteers how will this enhance the service currently being offered to Wenvoe residents and indeed, the demand to be created by the increase in new housing?
What will happen to the developer’s offer if it is not used for Wenvoe library?
We have a tremendous village library, which must be one of the cheapest to run because of the Community Council’s involvement, and one that provides a professional service both in the books it stocks and the knowledge and enthusiasm of our dedicated librarian. As local historians who use university and other specialised libraries, we have found the local service here in Wenvoe to be of a high and comparable service.
We have the library, we have the librarian and we thought we had a financial promise to keep the Wenvoe library service going for at least the next five years, all we ask for is the support of the Vale of Glamorgan in the spirit of their predecessors when they established the free public library provision, a valuable asset we should not throw away.
Stephen K Jones
Old Port Road