Friday, June 18, 2010

Great article on Public libraries from the States

(Found via here). The go-to-hellman blog has a very insightful post entitled Are Public Libraries in a Death Spiral?. In the post he makes two very salient points when he writes:-

A favorite budget-cutting tactic of public library directors seems to be curtailment of opening hours ......To me, this seems like the worst possible thing for a public library to do. ........Public library funding comes from the public, and the best way to convince the public that their library deserves more funding is to get the public inside the library doors.

Public Broadcasting is a good example for public libraries (and a competitor for donor support). Does public radio turn off their transmitter when they need money? No, they put on specially good programming and have pledge drives. My local library puts donor names on bricks; I'd like to see libraries put donor names on opening hours.

Tough economic times are exactly when public libraries are needed the most. The assistance that libraries offer to people looking for work, training for new occupations, learning to read, or finding social networks makes public libraries valuable parts of their communities, but that doesn't happen when the doors are locked.

Would Britain be willing to pledge money to its libraries to increase hours? I doubt it. The Lib/con pact are looking at cuts, and what services we do provide will be reduced (in my mind). So, last one that leaves the library, please turn off the light.

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