Nationwide cuts to libraries set to hit Buckingham

Buckingham library staff celebrating its 70th anniversary just a few weeks ago
Buckingham library staff celebrating its 70th anniversary just a few weeks ago

Just 12 weeks after heartily celebrating the 70th anniversary of Buckingham Town Library, staff have been told they must reapply for their jobs.

Just 12 weeks after heartily celebrating the 70th anniversary of Buckingham Town Library, staff have been told they must reapply for their jobs.

On the 21 March we reported on the 1940s themed event at the library where staff dressed up in period costumes and enjoyed tea and cakes.

The event also served as a launch date for a brand new Macmillan Cancer Support information point and was attended by local councillor Warren Whyte and cabinet member for public health at Buckinghamshire County Council, Noel Brown.

Local councillor Robin Stuchbury said:

“Staff are having to reapply for their own jobs and there are going to be less jobs. The narrative won't be about that and you won't be told about that but it's really not very good that councillors come to be photographed with the wonderful staff and then the next week they have to reapply for their jobs. You can think what you like about that but I don't think it's very proper.”

In 2018 there was a net loss of 127 public libraries in England, Wales and Scotland, while 712 full-time employees lost or left their jobs.

Since 2010 more than 700 libraries have closed across the United Kingdom.

In 2010, estimates from Public Libraries News suggested that approximately 10 libraries were in the hands of volunteers but by 2017, this figure had risen to around 500.

Buckinghamshire County Council cabinet member for Community Engagement and Public Health, Gareth Williams said:

"People will be well aware of the savings and changes to services this Council has made and continues to need to deliver to balance its books. This programme includes libraries too and we have already carried out full Countywide review.

"Following staff consultation, we received a very high volume of comments and suggestions to help develop new working patterns that will protect opening hours and ensure that we can still deliver high quality library services.

"Although the reduction in total staff numbers is low a selection process is necessary in order to match staff to the available posts in a fair and transparent way

"We will do everything we can to get this done quickly and we will be making every effort to move to the new staff structure without compulsory redundancies

"I’d like to thank all staff for their cooperation and understanding during what I know must be a difficult time."