Libraries: action needed now!

Libraries: action needed now!

Sieghart has spoken! The long-awaited independent report on England’s public libraries is out, after sitting on ministers’ desks for over two months.

But – so far – the most important bit is missing. The bit where the government says: “OK, this is what we are going to do…” Until we see that, library supporters remain in a state of impotent rage.

The report itself is brief and to the point.

The killer quote is: “Two themes have emerged, consistently and dramatically.

“The first was that there have already been far too many library reviews in recent years which have come to nothing.

“The second was that not enough decision makers at national or local level appear sufficiently aware of the remarkable and vital value that a good library service can offer modern communities of every size and character.”

The Library Campaign agrees.

We also welcome the report’s insight that library services – despite heavy cuts and official ignorance – are still widely used and often offer innovative, impressive services.

But all this is rapidly going down the drain. On this government’s watch (since 2011) over 900 libraries have already closed or been dumped on to reluctant volunteers to run as best they can – or are currently threatened with this fate. Countless others stay “open” but are cutting staff, stock and opening hours.

Sieghart has a good list of what needs doing. Some of it will cost a little money.

Now we want action.

Join The Library Campaign:

by Laura Swaffield