Serious Issues with Staffless Libraries – Nolan
Sinn Féin TD for Offaly and North Tipperary, Teachta Carol Nolan, has said that there are serious concerns raised by a community group ‘Save Our Libraries’ in relation to staffless libraries. Teachta Nolan was speaking after a briefing by the group in Leinster House.
Teachta Nolan said:
“Serious concerns have been raised by the Save Our Libraries community group in relation to various issues with staffless libraries.
“The report on the pilot scheme for the project states that ‘all members complied with the terms and conditions of the scheme’.
“However, a freedom of information request from Offaly County Council shows that 111 members had their library cards revoked as a result of non-compliance with the terms of the scheme.
“Worryingly, one member had their membership revoked as a result of being under the influence of alcohol while six children were left on the premises unsupervised during staffless hours.
“There has been no consultation with the local community in relation to staffless libraries and the Opportunities for All strategy for public libraries makes no reference to the roll out of a national staffless library scheme.
“The public library is very often the only public indoor space available to all members of a local community on an equal basis. They are safe, open, welcoming and often form the heart of the local community.
“The roll out of staffless libraries on a national basis will undermine this access as many people with disabilities, children, women and non-members will often not be in a position to access the local library on an equal footing.
“This proposal further undermines the work of librarians, many of whom fear for their livelihoods as a result of the plan.
“It is my view that the government needs to rethink this plan. Sinn Féin would like to see extended hours for public library services but not at the expense of the health and safety of users and reduced equity of access to this fundamental public service.”