St James St Library Campaign

Council admits mass cull and destroying books
November 29, 2007, 11:05 am
Filed under: campaigning, libraries, press coverage

The scandal continues on p2 of the WF Guardian and all across the letters page and editorial. The journalist has done a great job of forcing answers out of the council that they weren’t prepared to give to us, despite months of trying.

Hope you will forgive the following little rant – I’m so angry! The Council, whilst pleading poverty, chucks loads of money at overpaid senior managers, expensive consultants, way over budget capital projects, and rubbish computer catalogue & security systems, whilst sacking experienced librarians. The result, not surprisingly, is that libraries are not properly managed, and book purchasing, shelf space, visits and book borrowing all drop sharply. But rather than working to improve this, the council then destroys all books (including valuable ones) that have not been borrowed in a while, and loses loads too. And because they’ve wasted so much money through their total lack of understanding of what libraries do, and don’t, need, they also end up closing libraries like St James St, and reducing staff and actual opening hours further borough-wide.

This is a matter of serious concern to other boroughs, too. If this scandal had occurred just a few months later, we probably wouldn’t have been able to uncover it. Thanks to the wisdom of central government, councils are no longer required to report on how many library books they have – only on things like ‘books borrowed as a proportion of book stock’ (so if you have fewer books, this ‘performance indicator’ will improve)…

You have to wonder if at this rate, there’ll be any books or librarians left in libraries at all, unless we take further action… watch this space! We still haven’t given up on getting St James St re-opened, either – come along on the Sat 8th and show support!

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