A closed chapter for group in library talks

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FRIENDS of Woburn Sands library have been told not to return to a consultation review after they could not agree with the group’s objectives.

Nick Connors was asked to leave the group after he said he would not accept the objective to ‘recognise the contect within which future plans are being developed’.

He said that he could not accept the objectives because his choice of having a fully funded public integrated and professionally staffed library service was not an option for the group to choose from.

As a result, Mr Connors, Ingrid Neile and Katie Roy all decided to leave the group.

Mr Connors said: “I objected, because the model of a fully funded public integrated and professionally staffed library was excluded.

“Three of us arrived at the second meeting to discover that our views were not welcome and one was asked to leave, so we all did.

“We want to save the library as we know it now in Woburn Sands.

“So much for the big society - it is getting smaller every day.”

Marie Kirbyshaw, Cultural Services Manager for the council, emailed Mr Connors, telling him to agree to the objectives or he’d be forced to leave.

The email states: “I understand your reason to be because you disacree with the need for MKC to makes savings to library budgets.

“As the rest of the group have signed up to the purpose, role and objectives of the group, we feel it would be unfair to enable you to continue with the group unless you too can agree with this frame of reference.”

A council spokesman said: “We recognise that we need to work differently to achieve a sustainable library service for the people of Milton Keynes in future years, but with less funding.

“So we are looking at ways to achieve this in a well-considered and engaging way, and we are inviting ideas from a range of groups and individuals to get the debate going and explore different approaches.

“The Citizen review group, made up of members of the public who have volunteered their time and input into developing possible options for the future of the library service, is one of the ways in which the council is listening to ideas, and talking to town and parish councils is another.

“We have also taken the mobile library on a roadshow to involve non-library users and we have a questionnaire that is available on-line and in libraries.”