Library staff facing re-deployment

Donegal County Council says it will probably have to re-deploy staff to deal with a shortage of staff in its library service.

Donegal County Council says it will probably have to re-deploy staff to deal with a shortage of staff in its library service.

The council says it has no plans to close libraries in the county amid fears that services are at risk due to budget cuts.

The county manger told councillors last week that no decision has been made to close “delivery aspects of the library service”.

The library service is short-staffed after a series of retirements in recent months.

Five of the council’s libraries closed in November and December last year. So far no plans have been announced to reopen the libraries in Ramelton, Ballyshannon, Lifford, Clonmany, and Killybegs.

The council has reduced its library budget by €50,000 but says this reduction will be made by not adding to the library service’s book stock this year.

The Ramelton library was open for 12 hours a week when it closed. Ballyshannon operated for 19 hours per week, Lifford for 22 hours a week, Clonmany was open five hours per week and Killybegs operated 23 hours per week.

The council says it has lost 14 staff from the library service since the beginning of 2010. There has been 11 retirements, with nine coming from full time posts and two from part time positions. The council says two additional vacancies arose for other reasons while with another full time staff member is on a career break.

Sin Fein councillor Mick Quinn has raised concerns about a possible cut to opening hours at the library in Milford. But he says he must accept assurances from the county manager that the service will not be reduced.

“I have to take what the manager told me in good faith that there will be no impact on the service.”

Addressing the council last week it Mr. Neely said options for the library service are being discussed. He said significant gaps exist in frontline services. “The options are likely to include proposals for redeployment of existing staff and in some circumstances, partnering with other public and community resources,” he said.