Library workers set to ballot over merger plans


Library workers set to ballot over merger plans
Fiona Heavey @LeitrimToday

Leitrim library staff along with those in Sligo and Roscommon are to be balloted for industrial action by IMPACT.

The trade union is balloting staff over plans to amalgamate library services in Leitrim, Sligo and Roscommon.

IMPACT claims the scheme has not taken into consideration local needs, and members are concerned about their futures.

The results of the ballot are set to be known in early July.

A spokesperson for Leitrim County Council told the paper, “No decision has to date been made in relation to the amalgamation of Leitrim Library Service.”

The council outlined that in September 2014, “Managing the Delivery of Effective Library Services” was published which set out proposals at a national level for the management and development of Library Services into the future.

The proposals in relation to the introduction of a shared library management model remain the subject of discussion at a national level and Leitrim County Council along with the other local authorities involved are participating in this process.

The spokesperson said, “It is understood that IMPACT is balloting its members in all affected local authorities in relation to the matter.”

The role of Leitrim County Librarian was recently advertised nationally, the council said.

“As advertised, the post of County Librarian will be filled on a contract basis in line with Departmental approval.”

Minister for Local Government Simon Coveney told Roscommon/Galway Deputy Eugene Murphy in the Dáil last week that the proposed changes to library management in the three counties “will not involve the closure of libraries nor will it require a reduction in the library services available in those areas.

“The proposed model seeks to put in place planning and implementation arrangements that will deliver more effective and efficient public libraries with a view to securing the delivery of an enhanced quality and range of services.

“This will ensure the long-term sustainability of the library service in these areas.”

There are nine library locations in Leitrim, four of which are only open part time. The library headquarters is located in Ballinamore.

There are six libraries in Co Roscommon and five in Co Sligo and negotiations are still ongoing about future plans for the library services in the three counties.