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Editors Blog: Does Spilsby Deserve A Library?

A blog post by Spilsby Online's Site Editor, Andrew Wright.
Thursday 3rd October, 2013
- This blog expresses a personal view and does not necessarily reflect the editorial policy Spilsby Online.

The headline of this weeks' Spilsby Standard has caused some controversy, boldly claiming that "Spilsby 'Doesn't Deserve Library" after a disappointing turn out for the meeting to discuss the future of the library.

Is this journalistic sensationalism, or is there some truth behind it?

Spilsby Town Council

In the article it claims that as 28 people attended the meeting, of whom 15 were Spilsby residents, Councillors were"forced to abandon any hopes for a community-led solution".

"What does it say about the residents of Spilsby if only 15 people can be bothered to attend?" questioned Councillor Michael Lenton.

The people of Spilsby don't deserve a library.Councillor Winston Baugh

Councillor Winston Baugh was quoted as saying "The people of Spilsby don't deserve a library".

But how true are these claims that Spilsby does not deserve a library?

On the face of it the turnout was very poor and it is understandable that the Councillors would be disappointed but when you look at the way the event was publicised the blame must lay with Spilsby Town Council - although they would be unlikely to admit it.

The Council only have themselves to blame

What do they do - think there job is done just because they tell the Standard? Not everyone reads the Standard so how about some posters around the town or something. Haven't seen anything and barely anyone ever looks at the notice board.Site User "Silverlamp"

How many residents were actually aware of the meeting?  In a quick straw poll I carried out only one person out of fifteen had actually heard of the meeting.  Where was the publicity?

I was very taken by a comment left on the website by a user called "Silverlamp" who said:

"Anyway, if it wasn't for this article I'd know nothing about the meeting! What do they do - think there job is done just because they tell the Standard? Not everyone reads the Standard so how about some posters around the town or something. Haven't seen anything and barely anyone ever looks at the notice board."

Spilsby Online Poll

This seems to be the general view of the people who I asked about this article.  

Comparatively few people read the Spilsby Standard and almost no-one reads the notice boards.  The Councillors need to get out there and promote the meetings to the general public.


Old-fashioned views

The current poll on the website asks the question "Do you think Spilsby Town Council do enough to engage with the community?" and the results at the time of writing are very informative.  92.3% of the respondents have said that the council doesn't do enough, with the remaining 7.7% saying they were unsure.  No one has yet to vote "yes" and that is very informative indeed.

I am very inclined to agree with "Silverlamp" because the Town Council do seem to be stuck in the 20th Century.  Some councils have embraced new media, Facebook and Twitter but this is not the case in Spilsby.

Social Media

At an open Town Council meeting a couple of years ago I stood up and offered to the then-mayor (David Pleming) to help them promote the work of the Town Council online via this website, Twitter and Facebook.  There are probably far more people who use these websites than read the Spilsby Standard and the notice boards combined.

After a promise from them that they would take up my offer I have heard exactly nothing.  They have no means of electronic communication and in these electronic days it looks increasingly bonkers.  Until recently the Council used to publish meeting minutes and agendas online but this ceased in April - how are people supposed to know what is going on?  People won't go to the meetings, but need other means of knowing what is going on.

An extended offer

Yet again I am offering to support to Town Council to get their message out using this website and our social media links - free of charge - as I would to any local organisation.  I'll let you know how I get on...

What do you think?  Whether you think I'm right or you have different views you are more than welcome to share your views.