Fixing a hole and saving a million
Folkestone Library is falling into disrepair and the holes need to be fixed to stop the rain from getting in.
On Thursday 4th May 2017 David Monk was elected as a Kent County Councillor for Folkestone West. Since his election in 2017 up to April 2018, he had missed 56% of all KCC meetings. But he did manage to attend the meeting where he and many of his colleagues gave themselves a 15% pay rise taking their basic allowance to £15,000 annually.
The Folkestone West ward covers Grace Hill and more specifically, Folkestone Library and putting the Library consultation and the necessity to save a million on the library budget aside for one minute, the library, Folkestone Library, needs our help as it is being allowed to go to rack and ruin and KCC Cllr Monk and Pascoe are NOT lifting a finger to aid the repairs; which are so necessary to keep Folkestone Library watertight.
Heritage Room Folkestone Library
The data for KCC Libraries has NOT been updated since 2016/17; which gives nobody who has written in regarding the Consultation to prevent the £1 million of cuts to potentially fall upon libraries, any useful data to make a case to stop the irrational cuts proposed by Tory led Kent County Council.
Data such as cost of running the library, staff costs, repair costs would have been prepared for the accounts for 2017/18. Yet is has not been made public for more than nine months, as KCC say it is for “future publication”. We suspect that it will become public after the Consultation has finished in January 2019, preventing the public from using the data to support any arguments against the cuts. Meanwhile, Folkestone Library and possibly others in our district and the County fall into disrepair, all to save money.
Museum Room Folkestone Library
And it is not just the upstairs of the Library which needs much needed tender loving care, the downstairs too is in much need of help.
We understand that repairs to the roof were undertaken earlier this year, but it is clear from the pictures, those attempts did not fix the holes.
The staff at Folkestone Library, in fact at all libraries across the district and the County do a marvellous job. They protect and preserve our heritage, they provide help and assistance with computers and books for many, many reading clubs. They provide Baby Rhyme Time, Beyond Words Book Group and Talk Time to name just a few services they provide at Folkestone.
Reading Room Ground Floor, Folkestone Library
However spare a thought for libraries everywhere. Staff and library numbers have fallen every year since 2010. Spending contracted by 12% in the last four years
Moving on, we, the Shepwayvox Team, call upon Cllr David Monk – (Con) (below left) in his capacity as the Councillor responsible for the ward Folkestone Library sits in, to act for and on behalf of the people who use the library, to help secure funding to save this vital community building from falling into further disrepair. But it is not just him we call upon. KCC Cllr Dick Pascoe (below right) (Con) Folkestone East, whose constituents no doubt use the library too, should also add his voice to the calls to repair the roof.
Coming back to the library consultation, it is all about saving money through reducing opening hours. The proposal put forward by KCC means that our district will lose 85 hours.
The proposal in the consultation document make it clear that KCC need to make a further £1m of savings over the next two financial years. Savings or additional income of approximately £6m have been delivered since 2013/14. Savings of £0.9 million have been made this year alone.
You can let KCC know you care about your libraries locally as they will be having two drop-in events at libraries in the district where you can talk to staff about the strategy and proposals.
Folkestone Library, Grace Hill CT20 1HD on Sunday 6th January between 10:00 – 13:00
New Romney Library 82 High Street, TN28 8AU on Wednesday 9th January between 9:30 -12:30
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