School library support service axed in Hertfordshire

17:23 13 December 2011

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FUNDING for a loss-making school library support service has been pulled by Hertfordshire County Council.

The Schools Library Service (SLS) provides facilities, including mobile services, books and specialist resources, to libraries at educational establishments.

Currently, nearly half of all county primary schools and a third of secondary schools have an annual subscription.

Many more are signed to a pay-as-you-use service.

On Wednesday, the council’s libraries cabinet panel voted 8-3 to scrap the service – estimated to lose £41,000 next year.

Its recommendation is due to be rubberstamped by the cabinet on Monday.

The SLS will be axed in the spring.

Cllr Chris Hayward, cabinet member for libraries, said: “The provision of school libraries has always been the responsibility of individual schools.

“The library service offers expert advice and support to schools on a traded basis, and it is expected to cover its costs.

“In recent years, fewer and fewer schools have been buying into the service.

“This means that, despite restructuring in 2010, the service is running at a deficit and is no longer viable.”

Cllr Hayward said schools would still be able to buy materials direct from suppliers and publishers, and use existing networks and partnerships to share resources.

“No school library should close as a result of this decision,” he added.

All three Lib Dems on the panel voted against the cuts.

Cllr Paul Goggins siad a scaled-down service could have remained, and run for at least another year.

He said: “The estimated loss this year was £41,000 – less than a sixth of the staff costs.

“We could have reduced the current number of staff – 12 – and made every effort to persuade more schools to buy into the service.”

3 comments

  • This is a really retrograde step. School librarians are extremely important in helping with reading as well as learning how to use the internet properly. Due to budget cuts, many schools have lost their professional qualified librarians, had budget cuts or been cut altogether and the SLS has been able to help mitigate against these issues. I don't think it should need to make a profit, but even if it did, my understanding is that there was no consultation with schools so those who currently use it in a pay-as-you go fashion were not given the option to subscribe fully in order to keep it going. I think the County Council have taken a wrong turn here and should postpone the final decision until after Christmas to ensure schools can be fully consulted.

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    TR

    Wednesday, December 14, 2011

  • Educational Library service running at a loss ? I was not aware that teaching Hertfordshire children was a business venture by the county council..., Now call me old fashioned, but I was under the insane misapprehension that it was in fact a moral obligation to the younger generation, and the future of our country. (It's why we pay our taxes.. It's alright county hall... Really... We KNOW education does not make money)

    Report this comment

    Imogen Mann

    Tuesday, December 13, 2011

  • What a surprise, another political decision that will hurt the youngest and mot vunerable in Herts. The amount of the 'loss' would be covered if the county councillords reduced their grossley inflated allowances. Being elected to any public body should be treated as a privelage and not the gravy train these councillors seem to think it is.

    Report this comment

    steve

    Wednesday, December 14, 2011

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