Opinion: Why don’t you visit the library, Mr Vaughan?
This letter sent to the Star was written by Steve Webster, Stannington, S6
In his letter regarding failing libraries Martin Vaughan singles out Stannington Library as an example of a library that is failing and makes a number of inaccurate observations.The volunteers have, in the last year, raised in the region of £20,000 towards running the library.The council still provides some funding to assist in the running of the library but this has been reduced, so volunteers and the trustees have worked hard to make up the shortfall in funding.The “two cramped PCs stuffed into a corner”have been replaced by five new PCs, two of which are dedicated for children’s use from funding sources. New seating and IT facilities have been provided. Shelf space in the children’s section has been extended and children from local schools encouraged to use the library during visits with their classmates.Last year the library bought 2,000 books independently of Sheffield Library service and these are available for library users to borrow. In total the volunteers have bought 8,000 books since taking over the running of the library.Stannington Library has been targeted by “vandals”, (the story was reported in the Star as a hate crime).The library is now covered by CCTV with funds raised by library volunteers and supporters.I would like to see a return of paid library staff to replace the volunteers, not because the volunteers are failing, but because a public service such as libraries should be fully funded by local government. However, I think this is unlikely to happen and I’d sooner see a library run by volunteers than be closed.I’m not associated with the committee, volunteers or trustees who run the library, I’m a local resident who uses the library and appreciates the effort made by the people who give their time to keep the library running.The new IT system has been in place for a number of months now, so it’s obvious that Mr Vaughan has not been in the library for some time.I’d suggest Mr Vaughan and a reporter from the Star visit the library and make an objective assessment of how the library is performing.