Thursday, 2 February 2012

Lib Dems Listen on Library Lolly

The rapidly increasing cost of installing self service kiosks in Hedge End Library set alarm bells ringing back in January when I blogged "Library Costs Treble in Three Months".  My concerns multiplied when I stumbled across an Isle of Wight blog which discussed the library self service project on the Island.  It quotes an expert and independent consultant on these kiosks saying that "you should expect to pay £6-12,000 for one of these devices". 

That means that the £7,000 figure quoted to the Community and Culture Committee in November is more reasonable than the £23,000 in the report presented to the HEWEB Local Area Committee on 30th January.  It certainly looks at first sight as if Ken Thornber's Conservatives are trying to rip off the Hedge End council tax payers.

Taking advantage of the invitation for members of the public to address the committee on any agenda item, I pointed out my concerrns at the LAC meeting (making clear that I was generally in favour of the steps being taken by the Borough and Town Councils to mitigate the worst effects of the County's library cuts).  It's impossible to know whether any of the committee members would have questioned the costs without my intervention, because the rules of engagement are that members of the public have to say their piece and shut up before the real debate (between members) gets going.

Once they had it pointed out to them however, Cllr Louise Bloom and one or two of her Lib Dem colleagues did seem to agree that there was a discrepancy that should be explained.  It may be that the increase is explained by additional cabling and new desks required to accommodate the kiosks.  It may be that the cost of tagging all the books is included.  It still looks a high figure though and I hope that our councillors will follow through and keep an eye on these bills. 

1 comment:

  1. What's that few feet of cable made from...?