William Eichler 17 June 2016

Council’s plans to scrap mobile library ‘retrograde step’, says union

Union claims children’s literacy is threatened by Greenwich Council’s plans to close the borough’s mobile library service.

Councillors will debate a proposal next week to scrap the mobile service in a bid to save an annual £126,000.

Unite argue the council should dip into its £320m reserve fund in order to finance the service.

Onay Kasab, Unite’s regional officer, said: ‘The £126,000 figure is a drop in the ocean compared with the benefits to children’s literacy and reading ability, which are the keys to obtaining decent employment in the future.

‘Depriving kids of 33,000 books and a chance to fall in love with reading are retrograde steps. Parents should be very worried at what is planned.’

A spokesperson for the council said the proposals have been made because the service is not as popular as it once was.

‘The number of registered borrowers to our mobile library has fallen which is why it was right that we extensively consulted with residents on the future of the outreach service,’ they said.

The council believes the outreach service which will replace the mobile library will protect literacy levels.

‘The new outreach service will encourage class visits to libraries, offer staff visits to schools and maintain a deposit and collection service of books and materials,’ they said.

‘We are confident that these steps would maintain or increase the 33,000 book issues we currently deliver to schools across Royal Greenwich.’

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