Round-Up: Library Accounts, Wolds Words, And Brothels
September 13th 2013
Protesters outside the county council offices in Lincoln
Wolds WordsWolds Words have released their programme for the 2013 festival, which runs from 16th to the 20th of October. This year the literary event has a focus on crime and comedy. On Friday 18th Christina James will be talking about crime writing at the Conoco Room at 12.30pm, and on Saturday 19th Dr Tom Green will be presenting a talk on "The Criminals of Louth" at the Riverhead Theatre. The comedian Hal Cruttenden will be headlining on the Saturday night, with his stand-up comedy act at the Riverhead Theatre, supported by Geoff Whiting.
There's the usual range of writing workshops, events for schools, local history, films, and exhibitions. There are also various craft workshops, such as one on making graffiti T-shirts on Friday the 18th at Louth Youth Centre, and an all-day paper-making workshop at the Trinity Centre on Thursday 17th. In all, it seems like a festival with something for everyone. You can download the programme here.
Library spendingThe county council met on the morning of 13th September, and on the agenda is the crucial debate on libraries. Petitions have been gathered from around the county for the Save Lincolnshire Libraries campaign, as well as for individual libraries, such as the one in the Deepings. The webcast of this meeting should be available online, and there was a lot of lively debate about library provision.
One of the things I've been trying to get more information on is the background figures for these library spending cuts. CIPFA is a body that provides statistics and data on public finance, and it produced an analysis of Lincolnshire's libraries in comparison with other similar local authorities. Of particular interest are what are termed the "support service" costs, which are higher in Lincolnshire than any other comparable county, as you can see on page 16 of the report linked above. These support services, according to CIPFA, make up over 40% of overall expenditure on Lincolnshire libraries.
But what are support services? From the questions I've put to Jonathan Platt, library professionals, and others, they seem to be something to do with a range of things, including HR, finance and accounting, and computer support. They may also have something to do with inter-library loans. What they don't seem to be are the costs of front-line library staff, transport, books, or premises.
In an attempt to understand these costs, given as £4,603,454 for 2011-12, I made a Freedom of Information request to the county council. I asked specifically for a detailed breakdown of the support service costs for 2012-13. Instead, they sent me the following table, which appears to be all of the library service costs except support services. I've included them for completeness, but they really don't get to the heart of the matter.
I have made another FOI request for the correct information. It is taking a lot of time to obtain the right information about this issue, and I can only speculate as to why.
SingingYou Can Sing Vocal Academy has started its autumn season, and preparations are on for a concert on December 1st, on a West End theme. That means this is a good time for new members to join. The classes are at 5pm to 6pm for children, and 6pm to 7pm for adults, at the dance studio on Mount Pleasant, just off Church Street, every Monday.
BrothelsThe Gatherums Regeneration Trust had an open night on Wednesday. I didn't make it, but I'm reliably informed that I missed a treat. Dr Tom Green entertained an audience at the Conoco Room to stories of brothels in the Aswell Hole, and social injustice in crime and punishment in local history, and I've heard he's a really good speaker.
The trust is hoping to restore the Aswell Hole and its horse steps in the future.
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