September 10, 2006
Susan Hill accuses the managers of the library service
I think the national newspapers have picked up Susan's comment yesterday, which has induced so much support since she posted it.
She sent me a note this morning which says 'If another manager of the library service, or a civil servant say 'libraries are about much more than books, these days'- just ask them 'WHY?'
Posted by Perkins at September 10, 2006 10:12 AM
What about The Idea Store in Whitechapel ?
There must be a place within library buildings for far more than just books - and that comes from a (sixty plus year old) independent bookseller who relied upon libraries throughout his educational years.
For the most part it is the chattering middle classes who expect UK library buildings to be purely for books and the occasional art display.
Posted by: Clive Keeble at September 10, 2006 2:14 PM
Libraries ARE about much more than just books. I work in the private sector and our library is a gateway to all kinds of information - some of it in print, much of it not. I for one do not wish to be thought of just as a custodian of books.
Let's not forget that public libraries have a non-fiction section too, and those using it for homework etc. will benefit from access to the internet and online reference works.
The point is that if local authorities want libraries to provide these additional services, they need to provide some additional funding rather than stealing from the book budget.
(Maybe they could flog all the DVDs? That's a service I really don't see the point of!)
Posted by: Julie at September 11, 2006 3:52 PM
Very good to hear from you. Your comments are most welcome.
Posted by: Tim Coates at September 11, 2006 10:10 PM
Julie and Clive are right that libraries are more than just books. For one thing, Susan Hill, they are now also about computers where here in Cornwall there is a staggering demand. Better libraries meet this than anyone else, I say.
Where I think we can agree is that if libraries aren't about books then they will be about nothing. Unlike Andrew Stephens I have failed to discern the Cornish flocking into libraries in search of much needed satisfaction for their pent up environmental aspirations blues. The problem is that Andrew, the government and his MLA are doing nothing about all those library authorities who wont be taking the necessary action to ensure they can afford new books in 2007. So soon libraries in rural Britain will be about nothing!
Posted by: Philip Kerridge at September 11, 2006 10:11 PM