Half-baked policies

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The idea of libraries originally was for trained professional staff to provide knowledge, research, help and books to everyone regardless of class, background, age, gender or where you live.

Volunteer libraries as implemented by Sheffield’s Labour Council not only violates this principle, but enables easier closure and easier control of these vital institutions by cliques, religious or political organisations.

The policy has led to a much worse quality of life for people who no longer visit them, and to the loss of vital safe spaces for the mentally ill, isolated elderly and young people among other groups.

The implementation of this policy has been not only the product of central government budget cuts but of one-dimensional thinking and a complete refusal to consider alternatives (for example retaining the more vital isolated branches such as Stannington as staffed facilities, and having more affluent areas such as Ecclesall accept shorter hours and volunteers or even better a tax rise to retain a staffed library service).

As with any council department the quality of service is not only due to budget allocated, but how said budget is spent.

Fresh thinking and genuine innovation as opposed to half-baked policies like volunteer libraries.

Martin Vaughan

Stannington Road, S6