Letters, Friday, November 28, 2014

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Decent library service lacking

IT is good news that more books are being borrowed from Sunderland’s libraries despite the closures and restrictive opening hours that are now in place.

 Indeed, it is all the more surprising when you consider that local libraries, like my own, are invariably closed when I pass by.

 I am also cheered that Sunderland’s libraries are always seeking to update their stock – long may this continue.

 However, I am afraid that there are a number of drawbacks and problems which need addressing.

 I have mentioned the overly restrictive opening hours that are in place at a number of branch libraries throughout the city, and one consequence of this is that it is quite clear that what staff are manning the desk when the libraries open (often not many at all), are pretty flustered and struggle to cope with the sudden rush of people coming through the doors.

 It sometimes seems that the council has not given much thought to library staff.

 The situation at the City Library and Arts Centre also leaves something to be desired in a number of respects.

 Recently, for example, some sort of technical catastrophe occurred which meant that the library’s computers were out of order for well over a month.

 No doubt this put added pressure on some branch libraries.

 Then, at almost the same time that this situation was resolved, the library’s online catalogue went down – and so it remains at the time of writing.

 One appreciates that these problems happen, but the protracted delay in resolving them is inexplicable.

 I imagine that this was not what Councillor John Kelly’s much-vaunted £500,000 makeover of the library back in March was intended to achieve and it will be interesting to see if any explanation is forthcoming.

 And speaking of this refurbishment, what exactly did we get for £500,000?

 Wi-Fi was installed and the library was made a little brighter, but apart from that, the toilet facilities remain (in stark contrast to Newcastle Library’s) as do the aforementioned technical problems, with too many things ‘out of order’.

 So I am afraid that there is clearly still some way to go before Sunderland’s libraries can be said to be on a par with Newcastle’s.

Wesley Crossland

Sunderland

Help to trace the Airey family

WHILE searching for my ancesters, I came across the obituary for Ken Airey, of Grangetown, in 2012.

 I knew the family well in the 1950s, but, as the saying goes, “a lot of water has passed under the bridge since then”.

 I understand from the insert that Derek (whose wife was Joyce), Michael and Joan are still alive and I would dearly like to get in touch with them.

 My search for ancesters via the internet and the Sunderland Echo, led me to find out that part of my family includes another John Tillman (1834 to 1899), the architect who designed the original Museum and Winter Gardens.

 How fate twists things – as a young Merchant Navy Officer, when I stayed with the Aireys, little did I know that nearly opposite the end of their road in Grangetown lies a momument to the Tillman family.

 I would be grateful for any help anyone can give me in my search. I can be contaced on 33386651149 or email johntillman1@aol.com

John Tillman

Embrace festive season, Mick

IT’S so sad to read Mick, The Scrooge, Brown’s comments regarding Christmas cards.

 He’s lived so long now that all he does is complain and no longer wants to bow to tradition.

 Okay, it may be a pain at times, but some people like to hear from ‘friends’, even if they see them each day. Sending card is a sign they still like you enough to do so.

 Carol singers are sometimes good, and for some people the singers may be their only company.

 People have to live and for some all the hassle of Christmas would be very welcome.

 If it’s all too much, he should hibernate, not moan in the Echo.

 He could help make it a very merry Christmas for all Echo readers – but no he won’t. He will carry on his moaning tradition whether we like it or not.

Mr JA Stott,

Washington

Tall Ships add insult to injury

AN interesting article “A clip off the old block” appeared in the Sunderland Echo (November 13).

 A writer, Rita Bradd, said: “It’s a shame that she (the ship, City of Adelaide) didn’t return to Sunderland, but now that she is in Australia, I feel it is very important that Sunderland, as the city of her birth, reinforces to the world the pride in its shipbuilding heritage.”

 Sunderland is in the process of reinforcing its pride in its shipbuilding heritage by constructing a town square, with some park benches and a black line (the keel line). The keel line is not the exact length of the biggest ship built in the world’s biggest shipbuilding town/city, but who is bothered about trivialities like that in these days of the computer and the microchip?

 What people want to know is how many concrete flagstones were built and launched into the Wear?

 How many park benches were built and launched into the river from the banks of the Wear?

 The lady went on to say “Sunderland looks forward to forging links with the ship and those involved with her preservation in the future”.

 It is to be hoped that all those that had anything to do with the preservation of the ship stick two fingers up high and wide at Sunderland Council and all the rest of them that did not want to know about keeping the City of Adelaide here.

 To add insult to injury, Sunderland has invited every Tom, Dick and Harry that owns an old ship to bring it here to Sunderland in the form of the Tall Ships race.

 This after allowing our own ship to be towed away.

 Unbelievable.

R Tomlinson,

Seaham

A true Samaritan

THANK you to a true gentleman.

 While walking my dog on Grangetown Industrial Estate, I fell and hurt myself.

 A gentleman saw me lying on the ground, saw I was in pain and immediately offered to take me to hospital, which I declined.

 He then took me and my dog home and couldn’t have been more caring. I noticed the name on his van, so once again Mr Ian Swansbury thank you, you are a very good Samaritan.

Margaret Murray,

Grangetown