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Old 17th Jan 2012, 23:27   #1
Colyngbourne
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Default The future of libraries

I'm a trustee for our local Friends of the Library, which supports and promotes use of the same, and does some fundraising for extra activities (children's holiday events, Dickens centenary stuff etc), and we've just learned today that our county council is assigning nearly 40 libraries in their charge over to a charitable trust to run - a "non-proft management organisation" or something - which is a step away from what other councils in the country have done by pulling the plug completely and shutting libraries. Now the responsibility will be devolved to a charitable body, the council won't get the blame if it fails.

In all, a miserable situation. But I'd like to know what's happening elsewhere. Is this happening in every local authority?

Pretty dischuffing to hear about this as well on the day that Foyles so generously announce they will donate 500,000 books to the privately-financed new Royal Yacht. How about some of them free books for the schools in this country whose libraries are grossly underfunded and understocked?
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Old 18th Jan 2012, 13:08   #2
gil
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Default Re: The future of libraries

Same here, Col

On the other hand, our most local library seems to be in good shape.

re: Foyles 500000 books : At 3/4 inch per book, this equates to over 9 kilometers of shelving. They must be supplying them on 100 DVDs, which doesn't sound so generous!
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Old 18th Jan 2012, 18:08   #3
elwood
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Default Re: The future of libraries

The original article on the 16th January stated the donation was £500,000 worth of books.

On the 17th the guardian.co.uk announced the following in Corrections and clarifications:
Quote:
In a news story headlined PM throws backing behind new royal yacht, it was said that the London bookshop company Foyles was among reported donors to a revived royal yacht, having offered to contribute £500,000 towards books for a library on the vessel. A Foyles representative says the company is unaware of making such an offer.
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Old 18th Jan 2012, 19:31   #4
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Default Re: The future of libraries

My mistake, and then the Guardian's mistake too.
It wasn't the moment to feel irritated about book-provision generally, I guess!
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Old 19th Jan 2012, 13:24   #5
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Default Re: The future of libraries

I used to love the library when I was growing up. Visits formed a standard part of my weekly routine, as a child and a teenager and helped reinforce and develop my love of books and taste in literature. I even did my school work experience at one, but when I went away to uni I stopped using the local libraries (with divorced parents living in two counties*, I was a member of both Lincolnshire and Norfolk library services) and never got back in the habit, even though the one just a few minutes' walk from my house extended its opening times to include Saturday mornings a few years ago when it moved into new premises.

I feel very guilty, as though I'm not a member I'm still very much in support of free, public libraries, I just haven't got my arse in gear to rejoin yet. As our library is currently safe, I really should sign up and borrow a few books to demonstrate how I feel and do my bit to try to keep it open.

*One each, for the pedants.
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Old 19th Jan 2012, 21:10   #6
Ang
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Default Re: The future of libraries

Best Twitter post ever:

Quote:
Playing Big Society Cluedo. It's easier than normal Cluedo because there isn't a library.
West Berkshire is holding onto all of their libraries and has kept the mobile library going, but they have recently announced that the main library (Newbury) will be closing at 5:00pm instead of 7:00pm on Mondays and Tuesdays. Yes, so far we're very lucky!

Where libraries are closing, I wonder what's going to happen to people who use the library for access to the internet.
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Old 19th Jan 2012, 23:58   #7
Colyngbourne
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Default Re: The future of libraries

Our local library has internet users all day every day, and it's very well used but they have certainly downgraded the children/YA section, almost to the degree that there are more books in my girls' shared bedroom than in the 8yrs- YA shelves. (I know we are a booky family but the library has at least halved its shelf space in this secton. I used to borrow YA books from there that I wasn't desperately keen to buy but now they hardly have any new books. Part of this is due to each library not keeping their own special large stock of books any more but retaining a smaller number and swapping more around every few weeks - it still adds up to fewer books though.)
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