Just in time for the local elections on 6 May… a row has erupted over the fate of two libraries in Swindon.
A local library campaigner has decided to make the row an election issue. Author Sean Wilson has become a Labour candidate for Covingham & Dorcan ward – to fight library closures.
One library has already closed. A second is about to go the same way, according to Sean. And it all dates back to the council’s decision in 2017 to “outsource” most of its library service.
What happened? It’s a mystery story involving ‘seed money’, a charity trust, two parish councils, a Friends group and the council itself.
“Only by making many Freedom of Information requests and speaking to local stakeholders,” says Sean, “did I build up a picture of the true events.”
His investigation raises one clear question: just how sustainable are these outsourced services?
* For an analysis of another Swindon community-run library, see TLC’s
magazine, issue no 87, pp 6-7.