Well, well, well, it has been some time since Gloucestershire County Council have pulled Buckinghamshire Community Libraries out of the bag to use as a successful comparison to their ill-thought out library cuts. Though they stubbornly refused to retract the comparison they had at least desisted from using it. Probably because the Chair of one of these libraries in Bucks contacted us to refute the fact there was any comparison. Instead Gloucestershire County Council had started to comment in the press “there are many successful examples up and down the country”….yet when challenged on this they could not name any such libraries.
So it was with dismay that I read this article on This is Gloucestershire website this morning. Tuffley, one of the more deprived areas in our county (ranks within the top 25% of deprived areas nationally, and the top 10% county-wide) is being asked to take over their library and the County Council are again shamelessly using Buckinghamshire as a succesful example;
A spokesman for Gloucestershire County Council said: “We believe that services work best when they’re provided at the most local level and that’s what the Big Community Offer is all about. This concept has been tried and tested in places like Buckinghamshire, where a scheme similar to ours is already up and running and is very successful.“
This is nonsense. As one of the commentors on TIG rightly says
It’s disgraceful that GCC continue to repeat this mistruth. Community libraries in Bucks have more Council support than under the Glos proposals, and are still part of the public library network which Glos ones won’t be. The Chair of one of these libraries in Bucks has himself said that he only believes these kinds of schemes can work in affluent areas, with a high percentage of retired professional people with the capacity to give a lot of time and financial support.
We thought that maybe the Council failed to understand the differences when they first used this comparison and so we pointed them out to them…yet despite this they continue to peddle this misinformation, Therefore, it can only be concluded that they are knowingly deceiving the people of Gloucestershire and more specifically Tuffley.
Communities in Gloucestershire are being strong-armed into taking on huge responsibilities on the back of misinformation.
Considering that the legality of the council’s plans are being challenged on account of the lack of consideration taken of the impact the library plans will have on deprived areas, this is an incredibly rash comment for the council to be making.
It is bizarre considering they refuse to answer questions from us about libraries in Gloucestershire by using the legal challenge as an excuse but they have no qualms about going into communities and misleading them.