Job losses as county library plans are revealed

JOB losses and re-organisation are lined up for the county’s libraries, it was revealed today (Tuesday) to staff.

Tuesday, 19th October 2010, 4:43 pm

The proposed new library structure is designed to save around £300,000.

It is part of the county council’s measures to save £75 million over the next three years. The county has already saved £150 million over the last four years.

The new structure, part of the overall service redesign, puts forward proposals to re-organise staff, and follows a series of changes to opening hours.

The county council says new technology will be extended, and internal space has been improved at many libraries. The proposed staff changes would focus on removing management posts and using people at the right level for the tasks involved.

It is also proposed that the five existing library areas would be replaced by three new ones – Northern, Central and Rural, and Coastal, matching the three area system used by other county council departments.

The proposals mean five full-time equivalent posts would be lost when the reorganisation comes into effect next March. The number of qualified librarian posts would be reduced from 63.5 to 44, while there would be an increase in the number of Library assistants. Staff who move into less well paid jobs are expected to receive payment protection for three years.

“The Library Service is not alone when it comes to making difficult choices – it is the same story in the public sector right across the country,” said Brad Watson OBE, County Council Cabinet Member responsible for the Library Service.

“These are tough decisions which we have discussed with staff, however in the current economic climate there is little alternative. We have already had to reduce the amount spent on books, DVDs, recorded books and music.

“Our plans are expected to save around £318,000 per year. We are now holding a three-week consultation period with staff, to give them their opportunity to comment on the proposals.”