Without consultation, have Kent already decided what’s next for public libraries?

It certainly appears that this is the case. On Friday the following vacancy was posted on the Jobs in Kent website:

Project Manager - Transformation Delivery Libraries

Note in particular the opening paragraph of the job posting:

Our client requires a competent and confident results driven individual who will play a critical role working collaboratively with external stakeholders to ensure the implementation and delivery of a trust model for Kent Libraries, Registration and Archives.

The vacancy is for someone who can ensure that the trust model goes ahead for Libraries, Registration and Archives. This, of course, rather implies that the decision has been made and soon public libraries across Kent will be handed to a trust (seemingly mirroring Suffolk’s model for library service delivery). There has not, as yet, been any public consultation regarding this potential move with Kent County Council and with little in the way of effective political opposition across the county, councillors are probably thinking that their plans will have an easy passage and before long the county’s libraries will be in the hands of a trust.

What adds an interesting hint of intrigue to these plans is that the current head of public libraries in Kent, Cath Anley, is standing down from her post later this year. It’s believed that she is leaving to “explore her own business interests”. It’s unclear whether this is away from libraries or whether she might find herself involved in a trust running public libraries. Either way, the timing of the departure is interesting. Maybe it’s a case of seeing what is ahead and jumping ship. Maybe.



The fight for Kent’s public library service is about to step up a gear. The council appears to have decided what the future has in store for public libraries across the county, and it’s not good. There will be a long and difficult battle ahead as we seek to ensure that library services are not cut or diminished in any way.

CLIK is one of (hopefully) many groups seeking to highlight the attack on our public library service by the county council. CLIK welcomes volunteers to help in its aim to raise awareness of the future for Kent libraries and to help in the fight against the council’s plans. So, if you:

  • Are experienced in using social media.
  • Have experience of using the WordPress blogging platform.
  • Subscribe to the manifesto developed by Voices for the Library and library supporters across the country.
  • Willing to spend a bit of time each week helping CLIK to rally support for Kent libraries.

Please do get in touch. The more of us that can engage in highlighting and fighting the situation facing Kent libraries, the better.

Likewise, if you are aware of, or are running, a campaign in your part of the county, do get in touch. It’s a large county and can be difficult to get from one part to another. Sharing information across the county is essential.

In such a divided county, public libraries play a vital role in bridging the gap between the wealthiest and the poorest. We cannot allow Kent County Council to smash that bridge and isolate the poorest and most vulnerable in our society yet further.