CHAIRMAN’S REPORT 2014.
Over the last year proposals for the future of the William Salt Library have emerged. The Friends have opposed them, not because we are against change (for centralisation may well be of benefit to us users of archives and the library), but because the published proposals will lead to the identity of the Salt library and collections being obscured, and because the present building will be disposed of without any clear idea of its future, when it could have an important role in the future of the Archive Service.
‘We put an alternative to the Trustees in February in order to open a discussion, and they said they would consider it. In fact they passed it back to the architects of the scheme that we disliked; they adopted a negative and obtuse attitude and refused to acknowledge the good points of our alternative. A disinterested commentator would not have given the reply they did. The Trustees adhered to the architects. It turns out that the architects are part of the County Council architects department in disguise, and regularly get given work as if they were employees of the Council.
‘We are disappointed by the County Councillors who are behind this process. To them this is a cost-cutting exercise, and they do not wish to hear a complicated argument, nor ones about heritage or identity. They used their position to push their decision through, brushing aside objections like ours as if we were merely troublemakers. We are also disappointed by the Trustees of the William Salt Library who as a body have proved they are subservient to the wishes of the County Council and have demonstrated not the slightest degree of independent thinking. It is indeed a difficult time to be the Friends.
Nevertheless we are indeed Friends to the Library and represent a section of the library’s users, and that must be uppermost in our minds. If we do not like the scheme being put forward we should say so, to whoever wishes to hear our views. As the Council makes its application for Heritage Lottery Funding there will be further opportunities to make our views known and to influence the proposals for the better.’
David Jacques May 2014