The way Sheffield council has treated both library users and library staff, in particular those working in smaller community libraries over the last few years, leaves a lot to be desired.
The first step to the running down of Sheffield’s smaller community libraries was reclassifying the staff as library assistants, wrongly implying their work was of lesser importance to those librarians working in larger libraries.
The council went one better in 2014, threatening to close 15 libraries unless community groups would run them using unpaid volunteers.
It has essentially blackmailed members of affected communities into running a service it could and should be employing professional staff to provide.
Any claims of the council being short of cash are frankly nonsense given the millions it continues to spend resurrecting the failed Sevenstone development, and hosting events such as the Tour de France.
As nice as these schemes are, they do not benefit local communities, particularly deprived ones such as Tinsley and Parson Cross.
Having professional library staff to provide education and homework help to students and vital social support for the elderly and vulnerable would save the council cash on other services.
It is time for a more commonsense approach to running Sheffield. The council needs to abandon spending on pie-in-the-sky nonsense like Sevenstone, relet empty buildings for new shops or social housing, and spend any savings on employing the community librarians we desperately need.
Stannington Road, S6