Are libraries on borrowed time?

Hola. Hope you are well.

If libraries did not already exist, they would not be introduced today but as they do exist they are being killed slowly.

The reason I fear for the future of libraries is twofold.

Firstly, local councils are being crippled by the government imposed cuts and so are continually looking at ways they can cut costs. Secondly, the people entrusted to make these decisions, generally don’t use services like libraries or community centres, so don’t appreciate their worth. This is why such services are seen as easy targets. Here are the figures of library closures.

So what of the future? I’ve heard it said libraries need to modernise, which seems to mean sell coffee and replace qualified librarians with well-meaning volunteers. Then in the near future, MPs and academics will no doubt scratch their head, furrow their brow and ponder why children from poorer backgrounds have problems with literacy levels. They will of course lay the blame on teachers and parents, whilst ignoring the impact of the library closures.

To me libraries are more than books (free), computer hire (free), newspapers (free), magazines (free), CD&DVDs (nominal fee), they are a communal space you can go to seek sanctuary.

Til next time, be nice to each other.

@anunknowncomic

Should you have any spare time, check out my comedy prongcasts. Cheers

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5 thoughts on “Are libraries on borrowed time?

  1. Agree with your points here, and the whole situation with libraries really worries me/ I recently read a book called ‘The Intellectual History of the Working Classes’ (it’s on my blog if you’re interested – not a plug, I promise!) which shows how libraries were integral to the self-education of the working classes, which garnered their self-confidence and eventually their self-politicisation in the shape of trade unions and then political parties. So the cynical part of me sees a clear link between a political party shutting down libraries and the de-politicisation of a class that aforementioned political party wants to keep down. Bronte

  2. I agree they’re valuable but I think local councils are the wrong people to run them. They aren’t valued or prioritised and are used as political trading tokens by local councillors. I’m a big fan but they need to be removed from local authorities to improve their chance of survival.

    • Hi Paul. Cheers for your reply. I’m interested by your idea of taking libraries out of council control. Do you see them being taken over by not for profit organisations? I’ve not done any research but do you know how other countries fund libraries and which model work best?

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