Council tight-lipped over library job applicants

First published in News

APPLICATIONS have closed on Oxfordshire County Council’s second bid to find a boss for volunteer-run libraries.

After failing to find the right candidate to be ‘community libraries co-ordinator’ after advertising in April, the post was re-advertised last month.

Applications closed on Tuesday for the post, which carries a salary of up to £36,313, but the council refused to say how many applications it has received.

But campaigners against the cuts to the libraries service say suitable candidates may be ignoring the advert because of the controversy of the libraries policy.

Julia Drown, of Save Old Marston Library, said: “It’s a controversial role, not just because the plans are unpopular, but because it’s designed to put dedicated members of staff out of work.

“I think the county council has massively underestimated the difficulty they will face in getting volunteers to run libraries. It’s going to take a long time for the council to get anywhere near its goal.”

Last December, the council announced a plan to staff 21 of its libraries with the help of volunteers.

Council spokesman Martin Crabtree said the delay was not seen as a setback.

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He said: “The timescale for appointing is when we are satisfied that we have the right person. The co-ordinator role will play a significant part in developing the working relationship with the friends’ groups and communities.

“At this stage it is not essential that we have the community library co-ordinator in place.

“The library service manager has the lead and responsibility for our partnership work with communities; that will always be the case and she is now meeting friends’ groups around Oxfordshire and these meetings have been positive.”

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