When I was elected in May and Stewart and I became the Labour majority on the Ward Committee, we were delighted to see that repairs were planned to the leaky roof of our library, long neglected. What shocked us was that no plans had been put in place for alternative facilities while the library was closed - a period of some twelve weeks.
Given that this is one of the most popular libraries in the city and at the heart of our community, we didn't think that this was satisfactory. It doesn't just offer books, it provides a home for the neighbourhood office and crucial access to IT. Yardley has a real problem with a growing digital divide - the uptake of internet access is behind the curve here, so we need the facilities that the library can offer. Under the Lib Dems, Sutton Coldfield and South Yardley library were left closed for months with no alternative facilities other than the nearest library. Stewart and I didn't think that was good enough, so over the past few months, we've been working hard on a temporary alternative site and working through a number of options, negotiating with suppliers and potential landlords to drive a hard bargain with our limited funds.
Once we've finalised the details, we'll be able to announce more, but it is planned to be very close to the library. It won't offer the full range of services that the current building does, but it will offer a limited book borrowing service and also access to IT. The rooms used are accessible for all and should allow a good service to be maintained.
Just another example of how Labour are determined to be different and determined to deliver.