Culture, Media and Sport CommitteeWritten evidence submitted by Serena Brunke

The Committee has received several representations along similar lines, but it is not looking into individual cases, so it will not publish all of them. We have listed the names of those who have also made representation.

I am having to contact you again as I do hope you can help, as you know I wrote to you as to concerns as to David Pugh’s evidence not being a balanced view, having listened to his interview, I still have those concerns and feel David Pugh has not given all the facts that should have been given to the committee members, if possible could you please pass on to the committee members this letter.

(1) David Pugh stated that staff working in the libraries where council staff but not fully qualified as librarians, he did not disclose however that a member of the council staff who had worked at Ryde library had become the only person in the country to complete an advanced modern apprenticeship in library work, this was taken between 2003–06. She was then taken on by IW Council as a full time library and information assistant, David Pugh interviewed in the Island Pulse magazine 4 March 2008 stated; people like her are a real asset to the IW Council, it is to her immense credit that she has worked so hard to achieve this unique qualification, this member of staff stated that its a better way of learning the job and gaining skills and which may lead to becoming a librarian. There was no mention to the Committee of this achievement, sadly she was made redundant due to the cuts to the library service. Many of the library staff have skills/qualifications that cannot be equalled or replaced by volunteers and this should be acknowledged.

(2) David Pugh claims that decisions were only made after full consultations and views from the public, again he does not mention to the committee that both he and other councillors were asked begged and pleaded with to have open dialogue and to meet with residents including myself/invites to our communities were all ignored, I’m afraid David Pugh is not telling the whole truth and I have many emails to prove this, we were ignored.

(3) As library campaigners and legal challengers we gave every opportunity to David Pugh to discuss the library closures, this was also after my visit to DCMS, following advice to try and meet with him, again I have proof of emails trying to speak with him rather than going to court, we were ignored, resulting in no other choice but to take it to court.

(4) David Pugh claimed that decisions were only made after collecting all the eias, however I have proof that they were not complete, and my request to have them done for the libraries under threat of closure was promised to be done by end of march, the IW Council knew I needed this evidence for the court hearing, in July, but in fact they were only started at beginning of July, they were not finished or findings revealed in time for the hearing, in fact I’m still waiting for those results and have again been ignored.

Judge Pearl was under the impression that these eias would also reveal the impact on villages and replacements of mobile libraries, however the only type of eias done in July were library up date forms, and were wholly inadequate as eias.

(5) David Pugh claimed that support was given still to community libraries, he failed to say that not all stock was on offer as it was under the council.

These community libraries no longer can have dvds other than what was there during change over, there is no rotating stock, they have had the same ones for the past year, the volunteers cannot afford to buy new stock, the IW Council claim they are needed for the core libraries, this has caused an impact on families who relied on loaning dvds from their local library and now have no other outlet especially in rural areas, had we had a proper impact assessment this is one of many problems that would have surfaced.

(6) David Pugh claimed six libraries were sufficient for the island, he did not mention that only two are open full time, the other core libraries have lost almost half their opening hours, and with a much reduced experienced staff.

(7) David Pugh stated that the deprived areas and those of greatest need were taken into account, he did not explain why then did East Cowes which is most deprived on the island was chosen to close, where as West Cowes affluent area was chosen to remain under council control, again he is not giving true facts to the Committee.

There are too many outstanding questions that have not been explained by Cllr Pugh, and not all the true facts have been given to the committee, it is with regret he cannot be recalled, our only redress to this is that all correspondence from residents on the IW are forwarded to the Committee Members, I would appreciate you being able to do this, it is important that all true evidence is given before any final decision is made from the committee members.

March 2012

Prepared 5th November 2012