The rapid demise of the public libraries...

  Quickbeam 09:14 29 Mar 2016
Locked

Click here Being covered on Breakfast TV at the moment.

This is a quietly shushed industry that hasn't had the high profile coverage that the coal or steel industries have had upon announcement their demise, but is it a shot in the foot when we have record levels of illiteracy for a first world nation?

Imagine the reaction if it was suggested that steelworkers should continue to do their jobs as unpaid volunteers, yet this is exactly what's happened in this trade, which is/was a free educational service.

  Forum Editor 09:44 29 Mar 2016

The downturn in the popularity of public libraries was inevitable, and is directly linked to the increase in internet access.

Anyone with a computer or a smartphone can now access more information than is contained in any public library, and do so instantly and from anywhere.

  Quickbeam 10:10 29 Mar 2016

One of defenders of this move said that, but that doesn't justify the wholesale abandonment of public libraries over a single financial year which is the case with most councils that saw is as an instant cash saving once the government OK was given.

There are many elderly users that aren't IT savy that have at a stroke had a major social service removed. And it's still an advantage for a very young user to discover the feel of an active pop-up book that takes them further into reading.

Yes, the demise of public libraries is inevitable, but the speed at which the local councils executed the abandonment is way too fast.

  Forum Editor 10:18 29 Mar 2016

Unfortunately, we are living at a time when all public service costs are coming under increased scrutiny, and by and large people do not want to pay higher community taxes to fund libraries, especially when public library attendance and book borrowing figures are at an all time low.

Put simply, fewer and fewer people have been borrowing fewer and fewer books over the past decade.

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 11:33 29 Mar 2016

My local libraries have joined a group called Inspire to help get money to keep going.

With 4.500 e-books on my PC I don't need the library for normal books, at the moment but go weekly to change my audio books which I listen to while travelling.

  Aitchbee 13:54 29 Mar 2016

The recent 'explosion' of charity shops up-and-down-the-land, most of which sell books [and other media] for a fraction of the 'cover price', is another 'nail-in-the-coffin' of lending libraries, I reckon.

I would be very sad to see any of our local libraries shut down.

  amonra 14:28 29 Mar 2016

I think it's getting to the stage where it may be cheaper to GIVE away books free to the public, rather than employ x amount of staff in a vast building used by a minor percentage of the local populace. I know my local library is virtually empty every time I go in, and that's not very often these days. As FE said, it's a fact of life in today's IT age.

  morddwyd 14:48 29 Mar 2016

As a regular, but now lapsed, library user from the age of eight I suppose I am one of those responsible for their demise.

However, it is not entirely a modern trend. Paid subscription libraries, such as Boots, Foyles and others (Littlewoods?) disappeared some years ago.

I also think that the old chestnut about older people and computers is no longer as generally applicable. The Amiga, Apple Mac and Vic 20 appeared in the 80s and the generic PC shortly after; that's more than a quarter of e century ago.

It is also not just the fact that books are now more widely available, but libraries themselves changed. They are no longer the quiet havens for study they used to be, I was quite happy with them starting to lend LPs and then CDs, but I objected when they started playing their latest acquisitions, and to be honest I've been in some libraries where you could be forgiven for thinking you had strayed into the local playgroup.

I now find myself preferring to pay for books, including the tax on on-line versions, rather than brave the local library.

  Al94 15:14 29 Mar 2016

We're always that bit different! click here

  QuizMan 15:32 29 Mar 2016

My local library staff seem to strike quite regularly over planned closures and cuts to service. The last one was for a whole week. I have great sympathy for their cause, but I cannot help thinking that if people learn to do without them during strike periods, they will find them less necessary in the future

  Aitchbee 21:27 29 Mar 2016

I was in my local library this afternoon and overheard the mature lady librarian say to a young reader ... a girl of about 5:-

" There's nothing nicer than the smell of a new book, is there? "

Reminded me of Bob Duvall in Apocaplypse Now, :o]

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