Letter: Library team calls it a day

It is with great sadness that I report that the original Alford volunteers are calling it a day after running the library on Thursdays for the last 16 months.

The team of 12 volunteers unanimously decided to make the 17th July their last day.

The volunteers set up in April 2013, before LCCs plans came to light, to support the community by giving them another day of opening alongside the other days that the library opened under professional staff.

Since the decision by Lincolnshire County Council to completely change the way Lincolnshire Libraries are to be run, by taking 30 libraries out of statutory control and threatening closure, if volunteers did not take over the day to day running and funding the library.

The group have noticed the support they used to get has effectively gone. Alford library still has a separate group that have put in a business plan to take over the library but they cannot now rely on the support of the experienced volunteers that had been opening the library up to this date.

In the short term this means the library will now only open for the 60% reduced professional run time pending the outcome of the judicial review.

It highlights to me the sustainability issue of volunteers and also how much you can push them before they say enough is enough.

Most of the 12 will be carrying on with volunteering with other organisations in the Town that do not expect too much and offer on hand NOT remote support.

Volunteers working with and support of professionals was a proposal championed by the Lincolnshire Independents.

Known as the Pauline Palmer Proposal after the author of it ,Pauline Palmer, which was a complete alternative that still saved the council the desired amount but kept all Libraries in Statutory control and open with professional staff but was dismissed by LCC. Lincolnshire Independents support all volunteers and salute the work they do but have severe doubts about the sustainability in the proposals by LCC that ask them to do what effectively what was previously done by paid staff.

Stephen Palmer

Alford and Sutton on Sea