Bury Knowle Library plans: work in progress

Here is a snapshot of work in progress

The County Council issued a press release at the end of November on its proposals to discontinue funding for 20 of its 43 public libraries, including Bury Knowle Library. This is due to happen at some point during the 2011/12 financial year

Important dates 


County Council budget is set (proposals include library savings)


Closing date for expressions of interest from the community in taking over the running of the library


Consultation period on the proposals


Closing date for communities wishing to bid for transition funds from the County pot of £600K (can be for running libraries and/or youth activities with discontinued funding)


End date for Phase 1 of the Future Libraries Programme

Timescales appear to have been driven by the County’s involvement in a successful bid with Kent County Council to be flagship authorities in the Future Libraries Programme, and the project’s remit is the following.

Delivering Library Services for the Future (Oxfordshire and Kent)  

Two large counties are using the opportunity this Programme provides to develop a new long term model for library services provided in rural counties. The model will need to substantially and permanently reduce the cost of provision, while retaining those features which are valuable to customers (good stock, access to information, community spaces and knowledgeable staff). The new model will need to deliver library services fit for purpose in the 21st century, including extensive online services such as e books, e loans and social networking, as well as provision that draws on Big Society principles of locally driven and community based activity.


The County Council is currently developing guidance for community groups who may be interested in running library services but this has still not been released. Information that we need as a priority includes:

  • Continuing use of the Library Management System (even if offline). This means we could continue collecting fines
  • Continuing access to the borrower data (which they may say breaches data protection)
  • Use of RFID for security but more importantly rotation of stock and interlending between BKL and other libraries – would they be prepared to put it in? If they won’t pay for it, then can we? As this would certainly bring enormous benefits
  • Would they consider implementing RFID so the library can operate a self-issue system to drive down staff costs (currently £128K p.a.)
  • Costs would include system upgrades and possibly buy-in to professional services from County e.g. joint procurement
  • Could we buy in ICT support from County?
  • Would we be able to hang onto the equipment and stock and furniture already installed?
  • Would they give training to volunteers? (Someone would have to pay for all our volunteers to be CRB checked).

Action taken so far 

Local councillors and HA have agreed that this will be a cross-Party/”non-Political” campaign

We have done some desk research and found information on other authorities who have taken similar action, most notably Somerset.

Richard Stevens and Emma Chamberlain have written to Joanna Simons Chief Executive, Oxon County Council with a 6 page letter of objection / concerns that OCC is not fulfilling its duties under the 1964 Act and in light of the findings of the Public Inquiry in the Wirral 

Save Headington Library campaign group has been set up and will meet for the first time this evening, members include: Sarah Eddie, Alex Babkevich, Lynda Hayward and others

There are a number of sites, including



and a Facebook site


A meeting has been arranged for 2.30 on Wednesday 2 February with Cabinet Member for Libraries Cllr Mrs Judith Heathcoat and senior officers, hopefully including Caroline Taylor, the County Librarian. This will be the first of a number of meetings if the community decides to declare a formal interest in taking over the running of the library (before the consultation has taken place!!).  Attendees will be:

Cllr Roy Darke as Chair of the NE Area Committee

Cllr Ruth Wilkinson as Vice-Chair, NE Area Committee

Fiona Mackenzie (accountant, has prepared a cost benefit analysis)

Tanya Field representing Headington Action

Tony Joyce representing the Co-ordinating Committee of Headington RAs

Sarah Eddie representing Save Headington Library campaign group

We are hoping to persuade the Cabinet Member to reconsider her decision to discontinue funding for Bury Knowle Library, but need to keep all options open, including outsourcing the running of the library. There have been a number of suggestions from residents for income generating and/or community activities at Bury Knowle House. We would welcome more!

2 thoughts on “Bury Knowle Library plans: work in progress

  1. Mary says:

    I’m disappointed about the propsed closure of fourteen of Oxfordshire’s libraries….especailly my local library, Headington Library. Many people rely on these libraries to fulfil their literary Needs……especially the Elders and students. Not many people have the money to buy books, so they rely on their local libraries. Also, many of the elderly find it hard to walk….so if they close their local branch, they would find it very difficult to fulfill their literary needs. Please reconsider the motion of closing these fourteen libraries..

  2. Stephen Howells says:

    Hi I have been working in RFID for the past 10 years and can certainly provide advice and guidance on this for you.

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