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Wednesday, 25 January 2017
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Council bans telephone calls to £25 million Curve Library

Pensioners told "To contact the town centre library, send an email"

Report: Paul Janik

Anonymous council bosses, too afraid to show their faces, have banned the public telephoning the new library at the Curve.

Across the road, in the now closed 1974 Robert Taylor library, more than 16 different telephone numbers were available for the public to call.

Council staff complain

Slough's latest scandal - they never stop coming - is no phone number for the borough's main public library.

A council source complained to the Slough Times of the council's ban on incoming library telephone calls.

We thought this was strange, so we telephoned the well known number for Slough Library 01753-535 166, in operation for more than 25 years. Our repeated calls went straight to a voice-mail box which was full-up. Callers were unable to leave a message.

We telephoned Slough Council's main public telephone number 01753-475111, operated by German company Arvato on a 10 year contract - that privatisation is another example of former Labour boss Cllr Rob Anderson's inability to manage anything at the council - despite being paid extra.

Our call was answered by a polite young woman. We asked for the library's phone number. Arvato told us the main public library in the town centre does not have a telephone number. Arvato told us if we wished to contact the library, we must send an email and we could get the email address from the council's web site.

We asked Arvato what arrangements exist for elderly residents to contact the library when they have no Internet connection at home and do not know what an email is.

Arvato were apologetic and repeated those were the council's instructions.

Arvato said "internal numbers" for the library exist but they must be kept secret adding:

we are not allowed to give them out.

we've been told, I am not allowed to give it out.

Incredulous and aghast we asked to speak to a manager. Arvato said there is:

A 48 hours delay before the pubic are allowed to speak with a manager.

Arvato explained:

Its just the process.

Its the council's decision.

I'm just telling you what I've been told.

How to dial a council internal number

It is simple. Prefix the internal number with a few digits and dial straight in to the council. Use this conversion table or put in your browser: slough.info/sbctel

The £25 million Curve is the brainchild of Cllr Rob Anderson (Labour, Britwell) and Cllr James Swindlehurst (Labour, Cippenham Green). These two autocratic councillors are responsible for the closure of the magnificent 1974 Robert Taylor library on the corner of William Street and Slough High Street.

Cllr Anderson often remarked that People don't read books these days.

In 2004 the council's deputy head of libraries, Nora Holledge, now a Labour councillor, told this reporter the Robert Taylor library was too big.

No council response

The council's press office, under the control of Kate Pratt, refuses to give the Slough Times copies of the council's press releases and refuses to provide council comments or explanations.

The Slough Times contacted acting chief executive Roger Parkin. Mr Parkin, also Director of Customer Service and responsible for the Curve, was astonished. Apart from that the council remains silent and has not stated whether it will restore the library's telephone line.


Readers' Comments

6 February 2017

learning is just for the young - obviously "lifetime Learning" is just a pipe dream.

I understand from a friend who is 18 and studying Engineering at Reading College that The Curve is "crap" because it hardly has any real books. it is internet based so that rules out the older folk who have no access or experience of the newer technologies.

I hope we are not having to pay for Librarians who only stare at their mobiles all day while sexting their mates LOL

The CRAP CURVE is a more apt name for it

Donna Marks


6 February 2017

Remember Labour's pledge to the public - Education, education, education?

Tony Blair forgot to add "So long as its not done with books".

Books are a dirty word in Labour's vocabulary.

Sloughite


6 February 2017

The above is an astonishing story.

Have the local rags got it? Have they done anything?