David Marzella, Library Union Steward for Greenwich (and someone that I connected with whilst writing about cuts in public libraries and relating it all to the General Agreement in Trade in Services - GATS) alerted me to this important news item. He asked me if I would circulate it for him. So here it is:
News item in CILIP UDATE October 2011
" Diana Edmonds , Ast Director Culture Services Haringey leaves her post in October. Diana will be taking up a post as Head of the Libraries division with GLL , a charitable social enterprise which currently manages leisure services for more than 20 local authorities. GLL expects to become a significant provider of library services in the coming years. "
David informed me that Greenwich Leisure Ltd (GLL) was sent up some years ago, initially for the purpose of taking over and running Greenwich Leisure and have now expanded. There is little union recognition, David says.
The intention of the council it seems is to transfer Greenwich libraries over to a ‘trust’. Now, I foresaw such developments years ago now – I started writing about all this back in 2001. Libraries getting taken out of state control, being handed over to a trust, thereby paving the way for commercialisation and eventual privatisation.
Whilst writing on the GATS I referred to ‘Instant Library Ltd’, which Diana Edmonds was in charge of at the time. ‘Instant Library’ was traditionally a library recruitment agency, but then moved into other areas. As I explained Instant Library took over and ran Haringey public libraries for 3 years (after Haringey was deemed to have failed its Best Value Regime). Also, that this incident was the first time that a public library service had been taken over and run by a private company. I foresaw that this would likely be the start of more to come, and this news item clearly indicates that this is the way things are going.
Alan Wyllie in Islington also provides more information about privatisation on his blog – see http://www.dontprivatiselibraries.blogspot.com/