After huge protest from Suffolk residents of all ages and backgrounds, kickstarted by the Lib Dem councillors and the library-loving residents of Woodbridge, Suffolk County Council’s administration backed down on some of their more worrying threats. Instead it has outsourced the Library organisation into an Industrial and Provident Society for the benefit of the community. This means that the Suffolk Library system has become a member-based organisation of individual libraries.
Because Woodbridge Library is run by the IPS , decision-making occurs without any local involvement . A notable example is the matter of the moving in of Suffolk Coastal District services to the Woodbridge Library premises without consultation or consideration of local wishes or requirements. All moneys earned by the Library go back to the IPS, rather than being spent at the discretion of us locals. In the case of the Tourist Information point, neither Woodbridge Library or the residents of Woodbridge were even consulted as to the amount of rent SCDC should be paying(!). Indeed the whole issue appears to have been discussed between officers without any input from or reference to elected local councillors or the Library itself.
In this case Suffolk Coastal district council wished to save money, and didn’t specifically have Woodbridge interests at heart. There are rumours that they were offering as low as £2000 per annum rent for the ir occupancy of part of the library – and the Library’s consequent reduction of income-generating space. Is it best value? If they don’t disclose we cannot know. A Friends group would help Woodbridge to ensure it gets best value from and for its Library space!
It is now time to set up a Friends of Woodbridge Library group to allow the people of Woodbridge – and the surrounding district – a greater degree of control.
Please contact Woodbridge Library if you want to be part of this -we’d love it if you did!
Update: it looks like the first meeting will be in the afternoon, 16 March