I am writing to address recent comments in this column regarding the council's library service,such as 'getting rid of their qualified librarians' and 'dumbing down' from SL Pimbert on January 9, and 'Ealing is to lose its professional librarians' from Peter Ludbrook on January 16.
We intend to reorganise the library service next year and are currently consulting staff. Our proposals do indeed involve a net loss of 12 of the 135 full-time staff.
This is regrettable but it is a feature of the world we live in. If we do not do more for less your council taxes will simply become unaffordable.
New technology such as ISBNs, bar codes and RFID tags mean that we can be more productive and it would be strange if the council did not take advantage of this technology dividend.
The reorganisation is designed to move people from back office/ support tasks to direct service of the public.
We expect to eliminate ad hoc closures of our smaller libraries caused by staff sickness.
We will be able to staff two new libraries at Northolt Swimarama and Jubilee Gardens. We will be able to add 30 extra hours of opening time per week.
We currently employ 29 chartered librarians. Such qualifications are a source of professional pride for those on whom they are conferred, but such higher level qualifications are not the only route to acquiring the skills, knowledge and expertise to look after people.
We need more staff who are based in our libraries, not back offices, who are prepared to open the doors of libraries and to serve customers. We will end up with a mix of staff with a range of qualifications who are focused on looking after you.
COUNCILLOR PHIL TAYLOR
Portfolio holder Customer and Community services
London Borough of Ealing