Cut!

I’m not quite sure how it happened but at some stage during this recession councils decided that the easiest way to save money was to slash the library budget, especially in yer rural regions (ouch!). iphone 8 case harry potter deathly I mean, no one cares, right? The typical village library is just a little room that doubles up as the baby clinic on a Wednesday. Honestly, what’s all the fuss about? People in villages and small towns can’t expect the same level of services that cities get, can they? It’s their own daft fault for living there in the first place. Besides, if they’re that desperate, they’ll jump in their 4x4s and head for their nearest city library. Meanwhile, if they insist on having a library building, let volunteers run the thing (except on Wednesdays, of course – hello – baby clinic). Last week, Lincolnshire County Council became the latest in England to adopt this policy, proposing to cut its 47 libraries down to 15. ‘Less than 20% of the population uses a library… they’re inefficient… thin iphone 8 charger case everyone is still half an hour from a main library…blah, blah,blah.’ I wrote a letter to the Lincolnshire Echo in protest. They didn’t publish it (thanks!) but, to be fair, did publish others of a similar viewpoint. For what it’s worth, here’s what I wrote:     Letters Lincolnshire Echo Brayford Wharf Lincoln LN5 7AY Re: Proposed Cuts to Lincolnshire Libraries I wholeheartedly agree with Nick Fisher (Lincolnshire Echo June 20th) regarding Lincolnshire County Council’s proposed cuts to library services being a disgrace. What I find the most disgraceful is the manipulation of statistics to imply that the current library services provided are ‘inefficient.’ For example: ‘Only 20% of Lincolnshire residents are active library users.’ That’s one in five – a high usage for a public service and includes some of the most vulnerable people living in the county. ‘Book borrowing is down.’ This is true but it’s a national trend. People are borrowing fewer books because they are cheaper to buy than previously. However, visits to libraries remained the same and other services libraries provided, such as IT, increased. christian iphone 8 case It is disingenuous to use book borrowing as a benchmark for cuts and then state that, ‘libraries are changing and we need to move with the times.’ Libraries have moved with the times; they are far more than places where books are stamped. ‘Using volunteers instead of librarians will save money.’ Not necessarily. It takes at least 10 volunteers to cover the same hours as a library assistant (many of whom are on a low wage). iphone 7 phone cases spigen slim Each volunteer needs training and a costly CRB check. Volunteers have a higher turnover than paid workers so every time one leaves a new one needs another CRB check. That’s before taking into account the long-term damage library closures will have on the rural economy and communities hit hardest. ‘St Andrew’s Community Centre at Saxilby is a good model for volunteer libraries.’ With all due respect volunteer libraries can’t provide the many and varied needs of a real library. Volunteers can’t give advice to job seekers looking for work on-line, students researching for a degree, parents wanting recommendations on appropriate books for dyslexic children or folk tracing their family history. They can’t deliver specialised events such as the Summer Reading Challenge, nor is it fair to expect them to. Volunteer libraries like Saxilby are unmanned the majority of their opening hours. bling case for iphone 7 That might work in a pleasant village setting but would be disastrous in some areas. It shouldn’t be a case of ‘all or nothing.’ Reduce opening hours if you must. Use volunteers to support qualified library staff by all means but don’t turn smaller libraries into mere book depositories. Rural Lincolnshire deserves better than that. Yours faithfully, Helena Pielichaty I wish I’d added this research from the Joseph Rowntree Trust showing how much more it costs to live in rural areas. Oh, well. I guess the Matildas of this world, for whom libraries are their salvation and doorways to discovery, will just have to watch TV all day instead…

Comments Off on Cut!

Filed under Uncategorized

Comments are closed.