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Libraries dependent on volunteers
marymary100 - 19-10-2017 at 19:48

Article in full


We no longer have a national public library service.
Until very recently, every local public library was part of a joined-up national network. In even the smallest library, people could be sure to find certain basics such as books and PCs, plus trained staff able to provide a gateway to national assets, including standard online reference works, national newspaper archives, a link to the British Library, access to the summer reading challenge for children in the summer holidays, and much, much more in terms of books, educational resources, reference material and contacts.
The whole point was to provide a standard service nationwide. But that has now gone.
It is now pot luck whether your local library is a full service, or instead, some nice people with cast-off books donated by other nice people. Or something – almost anything – in between.

There’s no way to tell if this ramshackle provision can survive. It has been common for community-managed libraries to have problems finding enough volunteers, or funding. Most residents have been grateful to have any kind of community facility.
But volunteer libraries have already ceased to provide a full, national library service. The taskforce did not ask about the quality of service in community-run libraries, so there is little information about the range and depth of books being stocked, or what kind of IT facilities are being provided. The research team could not even use a basic measure: the number of books being issued.
The government has sat back and watched the most drastic change in decades to an essential frontline public service. In an affluent country, with key needs for information and human connection, this is unforgivable.

LSemmens - 20-10-2017 at 00:06

Sadly, with the advent of mr Google and e-Books, the public library service is the one to suffer. It is no longer economical to pay staff to administer the shrinking number of books that are now available on-line. Fewer and fewer people will inhabit that "quiet" space we once enjoyed. There will always be a centralised repository of books, but, I suspect it will be along the lines of the national archives where you may access it, but not as easily, or as quickly as the local library. As with all "progress" jobs either disappear, or change, in this case, I suspect the "librarian" as we know it will be much like the old night soil. We still have sanitation workers, as we will always have librarians.

scholar - 22-10-2017 at 22:24

For those who are willing to use the free sources on the internet, there is a lot of material to read on most subjects, and much fiction as well. (Sadly, sometimes the supposedly factual material actually IS fiction.)

Those who were compelled to go the the library for schoolwork information are likely skipping it, perhaps unaware of what they are missing when certain valuable books are not available free online.

JackInCT - 23-10-2017 at 03:04

Interwoven in this topic is the perennial question as to what is/is not an EDUCATED PERSON.

That specific question was at the heart of what in the USA was called a 'classical education'. Such an education, in the schools that I am aware of, was heavily based on this "entity" called the "humanities" (programs) AKA as "liberal arts".

I would offer up the thesis that the developed nations are moving more and more to gig employment, and networking to find out about job openings, and a much greater emphasis on one's social skills, i. e., work is just a continuation of one's after work social life, and being able to amuse/relate to one's fellow 'workers", share/contribute to the workplace gossip mill, are critical re the MILEAU that exists; if you are not considered a player, you won't last long.

Everything in your life is everyone else's business, i. e., they feel that they have a RIGHT to know about it, and to make value judgments as to how well you manipulate those around you for you own personal self-aggrandizement. When designer babies comes of age, tech advancement wise, the first choice will be the creation of a child who clearly falls into the "pretty people" mold.

Katzy - 23-10-2017 at 21:11

We used to have a mobile library. It was a godsend for the disabled and those who simply couldn't get into town.

Like so much else, the Tories killed that off and put people on the dole.

Now, a volunteer comes around, every couple of weeks, bringing some random books, with him, for Jane. He even pays for his own petrol, &c.

Our library, itself, seems more like a council office, now. There ARE a few books, there, but not many.

I'm guessing that they want to close every single one, when and if they get the chance. Personally, I believe that libraries should be sacrosanct. Not for people who want to read fiction, much. But, for reference, they were vital.

Maybe not so much, now, as the internet is so reliable for information...


LSemmens - 24-10-2017 at 00:42

Maybe not so much, now, as the internet is so reliable for information...


You think???? :Dshocked_yellow

Katzy - 24-10-2017 at 12:20

Not as much as one ought to, one suspects... :P