Library review must not be a smokescreen to privatise libraries.

The Milton Keynes Council Cabinet boss for libraries, Cllr David Hopkins, agreed on the 19 October, to consult on the future of the city’s libraries.  The consultation suggests the libraries could be privatised by 2015.

 

Cllr Hopkins  is proposing a three year strategy and at the end of which the Council will no longer operate a library service.

 

Cllr Hopkins’s report says that, “The council will also be sharing research about Milton Keynes having a library service that operates independently from the Council by 2015.”(Pg 8) and “or be managed by a commercial company.”(Pg 8)

 

Labour Leader Cllr Norman Miles said that it is a great pity that no account seems to be being taken of how the library service could be broadened out to work with other, related services as is being done in many other areas. Cllr Miles said that the Labour Group would be putting these and other points robustly to the Select Committee hearing 1st November.”

 

Cllr Miles said, “In the short term the Council is looking to generate more money through higher charges. They also want to consider if mobile services could replace existing libraries and in the longer term, by 2015, they plan to privatise our libraries.”    

 

Cllr Miles believes that libraries may have to change but that they could do so much more. They could host other services and share costs across a range of services.

 

Cllr Miles concluded, “My concern is that this consultation must not simply provide a smokescreen to cover up longer term plans to close libraries and replace them with mobile services or to privatise the service.”