A FORMER council worker of the year could be facing the axe as part of the latest cost cutting plans.
Residents are now being urged to bombard Worcestershire County Council with letters of support for Woodrow Library manager Steph Edkins (pictured) in a bid to force them to ditch a proposal which could see her job go.
The council is currently undergoing a restructure of the library management team which could result in the quivalent of four full-time posts being cut.
One proposal would see a joint manager take control of both Woodrow and Redditch libraries, which has raised concerns much of the community work Woodrow Library does will be lost in one of the borough’s most deprived areas.
Ms Edkins has worked at the library since 2006 and has been widely credited with transforming the services on offer, particularly the way she has built links with children, young people and residents by listening to their views and using feedback to provide new projects. Five years ago she won the prestigious national Council Worker of the Year award.
In a letter to the council Dot Bevington, Spice Development Worker for St John’s Church, said: “I am concerned combining the management of the two libraries will lose this bank of knowledge and understanding of the community.
“It is not just a question of efficient organisation which can be done by anybody with the right gifts, but the respect, knowledge and contacts which are so much a part of the job. Trying to manage two very different and very important gathering places will inevitably lead to compromises for one and or the other.”
Coun Pattie Hill, who represents the Woodrow area on the county council, has urged residents to write to Coun Lucy Hodgson, responsible for localism and communities, and register their concern.
“There is much more to the librarian role when Steph is there. Children know they can talk to her if they need to and the elderly
and vulnerable know they can go to her as well, she’s a very important part of the community team.”
But a spokesman for the county council said they had run trials in recent years which showed shared library management had improved efficiency and the move was now being rolled out across Worcestershire.
He said staff were currently being consulted on the plans, which would run until November, with a final decision expected later this year.
“All of our libraries play an important role in the communities they serve and we are committed to ensuring this continues in the future.”