April 19, 2006
In a few weeks many of the councillors in England's largest cities will be up for re election. On this site I shall reveal the performance of the libraries in those councils since the last election. Sadly many of the libraries have fallen more deeply into dereliction during that time. There are only a few books left that the thieves have not felt worth taking, or in which even they were disgusted by the age of the tomato sandwiches that lie within their covers. If I can find them I will give the names of the councillors responsible, so you know not to vote for the same people this time round.
Of course there are some excellent exceptions. Haringey library service, under the intelligent management of Diana Edmonds and her colleagues thrives and grows every day in popularity. Westminster City Council also has addressed some of the harder problems about long opening hours and buying more books. David Ruse, their experienced head of service has already contacted me about the comment I made a few days ago about Victoria Library next to Victoria Station. David and I share an ambition to regenerate this great old building and we need the Councillors and the people of Westminster to join in and find and remove the obstacles to this work.
In the meantime I shall start digging out the performance figures for the councils coming up for election. Councillors need to find out more about how the money they allocate for libraries is spent, and this rather public analysis of their results might persuade them to do that.