Conflicting Views Over Cost Of New Library Bookcases

New library under construction

New library under construction

The controversy over the Council’s decision to spend almost £24,000 on bookcases for the new library continues, with conflicting views from within the authority over whether or not the units exceeded the original budget.

In the Community Services meeting on 7th February, Director Penny Penn-Howard confirmed, in response to a question from a councillor, that the new bookcases were cheaper than the original shelving that had been specified.

However, Radio Scilly has learned that the original plan was to recycle shelving from the old library, and supplement these with new units for the additional books being stocked.

We understand this was £13,000 cheaper than the furniture now being purchased. But this was changed by Community Services officers, who felt that bookcases, rather than shelves, were required.

The contractor, Kier, eventually agreed to release around £10,000 set aside for the shelving and allow the Council to order its own.

A further £6,500 was added from the Community Services’ Extended Schools account, money normally used for children’s educational trips, with the remaining £6,500 coming from the Porthcressa Project funding.

The Council’s spokesman, George Pearson, said the shelving in the original specification wasn’t ideal for the job.

“It was basic aluminium supplied in industry standard lengths” said George, “and during the reconstruction of the Bulb Store it became clear that the unusual shape and size of the building would limit the number of these shelves that could be fitted, which in turn would restrict the planned-for extra capacity for new books and displays as well as hindering any future amendments to layout within the library.”

However, Diana Mompoloki from the Council’s Porthcressa Project team says that’s not what happened. She said the recycled shelving would have fitted into the library and there was sufficient shelving for the increased books being ordered.

Following further questions from Radio Scilly, the Council has decided not to confirm the final cost of the shelving being ordered.

During a debate last month on how to plug a £1.4m black hole in the Council’s finances, vice chairman Amanda Martin said there are “hard, painful decisions” to be made to balance the authority’s budgets.

11 Responses to Conflicting Views Over Cost Of New Library Bookcases

  1. Nobby Nobbs April 18, 2013 at 6:47 pm

    It would have been cheaper to by every person registered with the library a Kindle and £100 worth of book tokens.

  2. Please find at the link below a further statement on library shelving on behalf of the Council.

  3. Mike L April 13, 2013 at 2:37 pm

    Looks like the Council have now admitted that the shelves cost £13,000 more than planned although Scilly Today should check its facts better – they got the wrong budget (children’s budget not extended schools – not sure what the difference is)

    I’m sure the new shelves will look lovely but should we really be spending this sort of money when budget (and most likely job) cuts are almost inevitable.

    From the Council’s website today…

    New Library Update
    Released on 12 April 2013

    As the subject of library shelving has stimulated a great deal of discussion, the Council of the Isles of Scilly felt it was important that accurate information is given on this matter.

    The original tender specification for shelving in the library was for the re use of the old metal shelving plus new bracketed shelving. When the building neared completion it became clear that the old shelving was inappropriate for the height and width of the space. There were also concerns raised by the librarians that the bracketed shelving would not be as durable as library standard bookcases.

    The bookcases are manufactured and designed to fit the building maximizing the available space. This creates about 7500 book spaces with room for computers, study and reading areas as well as a designated children’s space.

    The extra cost of £13,441 has been found from Porthcressa build funding and some under spend from Children’s Services. This was not Extended Schools Funding. Using some Children’s Services funding is appropriate as the library provision will benefit children from the islands for years to come. The work has necessarily been undertaken by a sub-contractor of Kier, in order to protect the building’s warranties.

    The new bookcases give a high quality, high specification, finish with low cost maintenance into the future.

    This new facility will be a great asset to all age groups within the community and visitors alike. The official opening will be at the beginning of May with another special event planned in June. Watch this space for more information

    • Pat Hicks April 13, 2013 at 6:39 pm

      Thanks for keeping us up to date Mike L..

  4. maggiemay April 12, 2013 at 9:16 am

    Casual Observer – we are all concerned about the massive crack that has appeared in the wall and have been for some time now and I do believe that the owner is alledgedly aware of the problem, there is someone over here keeping an eye on the building for the owner just hope that it will be put in order by the construction company before they depart!!

  5. Casual Observer April 11, 2013 at 9:25 am

    If i was the owner of the house at the end i’d be a bit more concerned about the massive crack that appeared in my house during the piling phase of the construction of the new buildings rather than a container and some tumbleweed. Of course it could just be coincidental….

  6. maggiemay April 11, 2013 at 9:05 am

    Rather than shelves being fiitted iin the library. Kiers staff look very comfortable it appears that they have moved in now that the porta cabins have been removed from the bank at Porthcressa. The toilets and the Porthcressa Bank are looking reasonable but alas the East End of Porthcressa is very congested with all Kiers equipment having been located to the Buzza Street end. If I was the owner of the house close to the new buildings I would not be very happy, they have completely blocked the whole of the front entrance off taking advantage of the fact that it is unoccupied, plus blocking most of Buzza Street with heavy equipment. What a mess.

  7. Fran Grottick April 11, 2013 at 6:42 am

    There are several very skilled carpenters on the Islands.

  8. Jon Mackenzie April 11, 2013 at 12:45 am

    Last week it was £20,000. Now it’s £24,000. I wonder what it will be next week!

  9. pat hicks April 10, 2013 at 8:12 pm

    Sounds like some have made an almighty cock up…. as usual
    and who ever it is should be made to pay for it. and not from the school budget etc. !!.

  10. Euan Rodger April 10, 2013 at 11:10 am

    One news story states there is not enough money to promote the islands and then we have the above. How have we got our priorities so wrong?!