Llandysul Library – Where are we?

****UPDATE on 20/01/16*****

There’s a special meeting of the Special Corporate Resources Overview and Scrutiny
Committee
 at 9.30am on Friday the 22/1/16.

Come along to support Llandysul library and listen to the discussion in the Council chamber at Ceredigion County Offices, Penmorfa, Aberaeron, SA46 0PA.

Links to:
Agenda
Report

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Here is where I think that we are in the fight to keep Llandysul Library open.

This is all my own opinion. There is no committee running this campaign, just the good will of the community.  Other people will have different views.

Petition

On Tuesday 12 January at the protest before the Council meeting at the Penmorfa Offices a group of us handed in a petition of over 600 names to the Council Leader  Ellen ap Gwynn .  The petition had been signed by people from near and far on the internet via Change.org and in the shops in and around Llandysul.  It was a valiant turn out as the weather was atrocious. This was reported the next day in the Cambrian News.

Image from the Cambiran News

http://cambrian-news.co.uk/article.cfm?id=101602&headline=Petition%20handed%20over%20in%20last-ditch%20bid%20to%20save%20library&sectionIs=news&searchyear=current

Consultation

The Council’s consultation closed  on Monday 4th January.  Just to remind you, these are the option which Ceredigion County Council gave the residents of Ceredigion.

  1. the closure of Llandysul library and reduction of the mobile library fleet by axeing one large and one small vehicle;
  2. the closure of Llandysul and one of either Aberaeron, Cardigan or Lampeter libraries;

Although they have not had time to collate the consultation yet, the Tivyside has reported that in the meeting on the 12th January Councillor Dafydd Edwards mentioned some of the early results.

“Out of just over 400 responses, just 42 favoured option 1 and 90 favoured option 2 while 319 disagreed with the options.”

It will be interesting to see the full results of the Consultation and will it be ignored or will they listen to the residents of Ceredigion?

Meeting

I’ve also been to a meeting arranged by Councillor Peter Evans which involved Mr Arwyn Morgan Head of of ICT and Customer  and Mr Gareth Griffiths the Library Service Manager.  This was a small meeting. Mr Morgan and Mr Griffiths are employees of the Council not elected officials.  I wanted to listen to them and see if I could understand their figures. But they failed to bring the exact figures to run the building with them, they said that they would send them on – still waiting. I still only know what we were been told at the beginning that it costs £25,398 to run the building including the rates which are £5,543 and that excludes the wages. No breakdown.

Mr Morgan was determined that the building would be closing even telling us that Dysgu Bro would be leaving at the end of March even though the decision to close the library has not been taken.

He was not willing to consider cutting hours. He was not willing to move librarians around the county to facilitate this. His only concern was to close the library and the cash office then the costs of running those services would no longer show on his department’s accounts. The building would be ‘empty’ and it would then be handled by the Estates department.

What does that mean?  Will the building be empty?

Well, as we know the Council leases the building from the Church and the council have to keep the building in good repair. The Church has a hall there which they use regularly and that is included in the lease. The Police rent a section of the building for £1,800 which includes heating and electricity. So, Estates will still have to pay oil, electricity, insurance, interior and exterior maintenance costs and rates.

So what will the overall savings to the Council be by closing the library and cash office?
Answers on a postcard please, addressed to the head of Estates, who is about to get a new set of bills on their 2016-2017 ledger.

It all sounds a bit like juggling to me.

Mr Morgan said that a group of volunteers could run the library. He charges the volunteer run library at New Quay £1,280 per annum for using the Council library service, including the software licence and the broadband.  He said that we could keep the computers in the library and the shelves.  He also said that the library does not have to be in that building. Anyone got space for the library in their building in Llandysul – hopefully at zero rent?

Another option which he offered was that if the Community pays the service costs the library service pays 50% of the staffing costs. I wasn’t sure that I understood this option very well. But it sounds very expensive to me. Probably looking at an annual cost of £30,000 to £40,000 for the status quo. Any philanthropic millionaires out there?

Mr Morgan said that the timetable now is that the Council will discuss the Consultation and Llandysul Library in February.  If they vote in favour of closing the library Councillor Peter Evans could ‘call it in’ (which I think means that the department involved have to review their recommendation). Mr Morgan said that he expected Councillor Evans to call in the decision and then went on to say that he expected/hoped that in March the vote to go in favour of closing the library. At which point he has to give staff 90 days notice and then he can close the library – probably mid-June.

I’m just going to repeat part of that:

Mr Morgan said that he expected Councillor Evans to call in the decision and then went on to say that he expected  / hoped that in March the vote to go in favour of closing the library.

The reason why I’ve typed expected  /  hoped in bold is that I cannot remember exactly what he said.  But, what I think he meant was and I’m sorry if I’ve got the wrong end of the stick is that to him there is only one outcome and that is to close the library and cash office and get them off his accounts so that he can show that his department has made the required savings.  As much as Councillor Evans and many other Councillors will object to the closing of the library they are at the mercy of their accountants and the savage cuts which are being made.

To me, it also shows that whatever the calling in procedure is, it is not going to be an independent assessment of the situation. It will look at the numbers and that’s it. It will not consider the impact on communities who use the services.  Will there be an Equality Impact Assessment?

Democracy is dead, long live the accountants and bankers!

People are asking me where are we with the library? I think we’re up the Teifi in our coracle without a paddle. I am at loss as to where we go from here but…

Ymlaen â ni! 

National Libraries day 2016

On the up side and I have to think that there is something which we can do, even if it’s being a mosquito which keeps biting:

it’s National Libraries Day on Saturday 6th February.

We should celebrate our library and the building it’s in – whilst we can.

www.nationallibrariesday.org.uk

What can we do?

Story telling corner? Poetry reading?

The idea of National Libraries Day is to get more people to join the library and use it.  It’s never too late and it would help show that people do want Llandysul Library to remain open.

Can you help me do this? 

Please contact me via email hanesllandysul@gmail.com.

 

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Big Events in Llandysul

Llandysul is not a big place, and there are very few big events which happen here. Lots of small things of course, club meetings, society meetings, football and cricket matches, arts courses… sorry I digress.

Let’s return to the subject of big events, as we’re about to have two of the biggest events of the year in Llandysul.

Image of Llandysul Food Festival

Next Saturday, the 30th June is the Llandysul Food Festival. This is the 13th year for the food festival and we are so lucky to have it. This is the best opportunity for the local community to taste and buy artisan food made in Wales on their door step. Much of this food is made locally, within the Teifi Valley itself, most of the rest come from Ceredigion, Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire. Interestingly not all of these food products are available in our local shops so it is a great opportunity to find new foods. There will be cooking demonstrations and lots of entertainment too. Fingers crossed the weather will be dry so that we can all enjoy it. Anyway it’s free to get in, and not many things are free these days.

The next day, Sunday 1 July there is a guided walk with Llandysul & Pont-Tyweli Walkers are Welcome, which meets at the Woodland Trust at Coedyfoel.
Sunday 1st July is also the first day of the Llandysul and Pont-Tyweli Carnival week, with events with the Llandysul Paddlers at the lake from 2pm. Every evening then for the week there are events and the full programme can be seen here. On Saturday 7th July, is the actual Carnival.

So, I think that there is something for everyone over the whole week. I hope everyone enjoys it and I congratulate and thank all of the volunteers who are running these events. It’s hard work but your community needs you!

Christmas Crafts in Llandysul

Street Organ at Llandysul Christmas Fair

Street Organ at Llandysul Christmas Fair

It was the Llandysul Christmas Fair last Friday afternoon and evening.  A bit different from previous years as there was no WG funding.  The organisation of the whole event had been taken on by members of the Business Club.  Gold stars and top marks to Karen, Hilary and Andrea and not doubt countless others who volunteered their time and energy.  Some of the shops were open and there was a lovely street organic playing in the street.  The street is quite dark, even with the Christmas lights on, so it was all very atmospheric.   I had a lovely welcome from Daphne Jones Collections, as well as glass of mulled wine!  The Spiritualist Centre was very busy and I entered a raffle, guess the weight of the cake and guess the name of the teddy bear.  Haven’t heard anything from them so I guess that I didn’t win.

Tysul Hall, Llandysul Christmas Fair 2011

Tysul Hall, Llandysul Christmas Fair 2011

I couldn’t come until after work so I didn’t have time to visit anymore shops as I wanted to visit Tysul Hall and see the stalls there.  What a great atmosphere there was in the hall, and I was sad to learn that I’d missed the Scout’s show.  There were Owls in the hall, not shopping but on display from Pant Glas World of Nature!  Lots of craft stalls, including Diane Mathais, Cariad Glass, the Llandysul Country Market and many others plus John, who I’ll name the Slateman, until I recall the name of his business, but his slate tablewear is fab as many of my friends will find out on the 25th Dec.  There were lots of people to talk to and I did not get around everyone before the stalls started to close up, which was a shame but can’t be helped as I was late arriving and it was home time.
There’s a Christmas Craft Fair in the Pwerdy-Powerhouse this Saturday as well as the first day of their Christmas Art Exhibition.  I’ll be invigilating at the exhibition next Monday afternoon (5th), so please come along and admire (buy) the art by many local artists: Graham Lewis, Lynda Guy, Chris Chalk, Charlotte Davies, Victoria Malcom, Cara Bendon and the art group “Drawing from the Self”.  I’m looking forward to that.