January 15, 2009
Books in public libraries
By a regular correspondent.....
'The trouble is that books are treated as consumables and paid for from "revenue" budgets.
If they were regarded as "capital" items, perhaps they would be better-chosen and -valued by our librarians, and more space would be found for them.
The worship of the "new", expressed by Tessa Jowell's Public Library Service Standard 10 and its legacy, has meant that the shelves have become conveyor-belts.
No longer can you show your children the beautiful variety of past bindings designed to last 50 or 100 years.
Books represent our cultural capital and don’t need to be drain on our revenue!'
Posted by Perkins at January 15, 2009 10:05 AM
In my home county of Hertfordshire I am told the library service has a policy of retiring books older than five years.
I regularly trawl the "books for sale" trolleys in my local libraries and on occasion make some good finds. A few weeks back for example I acquired a set of laminated hard-copy land-ranger maps of Western Scotland at 50p each. Whilst this is excellent for my private collection and my holidaying in Scotland I feel a certain sadness at the sale of public resources.
A brief surf of second hand book sites will reveal no end of ex-library books for sale at rather more than 50p. (Some ex-library New Naturalist Books for example regularly sell for substantial sums).
Many books are disappearing forever from the public domain to make way for the latest shiny covers which certainly won't have the lasting value and appeal of their predecessors.
Posted by: Matthew Hart at January 17, 2009 8:28 PM