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(32 Posts)
sparkygran Fri 02-Jan-15 18:14:09

I am hopping mad in fact furious my local library who have books for me awaiting collection have closed from 22.12.14-5.01.15. I have been left bookless - I had a new 650 page book which I enjoyed over the holidays and then needed to stock up with others but no they were closed. I know I will be told this is due to "budget cuts" and no staff as they have sacked all the Agency staff but it just isn`t good enough - how do you feel?

Mishap Fri 02-Jan-15 18:43:44

This is a bit of a hobbyhorse of mine. I think that libraries are the mark of a civilised society and it makes me very sad to see how low down the list of priorities they are now.

Our village library van was axed a couple of years ago; and a friend and I now run a library at the monthly farmers' market. The council supplies the books and we are the free labour.

I felt so exasperated when Birmingham's library (that cost a mint to design and build - and the council got into debt over it) has now had to cut its opening hours and activities for lack of finance. You would have thought that they would have considered this before getting into huge debt to build it. The old library there was a gem if a building.

Treebee Fri 02-Jan-15 18:55:05

As a public librarian I can't see the library service surviving much longer. The powers that be simply can't see any value in it.
If you've been inconvenienced in any way protest loudly in writing to the chief librarian in your authority. Complain to your councillor too. Our customers are usually too nice to do this.

Lapwing Fri 02-Jan-15 19:21:43

Things are only going to get worse sparkygran. I was listening to our local news this evening and they were talking about how the cuts are going to impact on us all. They did not mention the libraries but again talked about how when roadside lights develop faults they will not be repaired - that would be quite a safety issue.

soontobe Fri 02-Jan-15 20:10:00

Did the library close without warning sparkygran?

soontobe Fri 02-Jan-15 20:12:56

My opinion, for what it is worth, that if something has to close, the libraries are better than some things.
I also think that volunteers could set up something if they wanted to?? Better than nothing?

apricot Fri 02-Jan-15 20:30:31

I was a librarian long ago but rarely use my local library. The stock has been decimated, there is no actual librarian and you have to interact with a machine instead of a human. There's no return date on the book, just a slip of paper which you promptly lose and no reminders are sent for overdue books.
Fifty years ago we gave a better service in every part-time village branch. Technology has done nothing useful and there's nothing there I actually want to read. I buy paperbacks in charity shops and return them to be resold.
My grandchildren's working parents have no time to take them to the library. It's sad but I think public libraries have no future.

Mishap Fri 02-Jan-15 21:00:46

It is a difficult equation, and we could go down the route of making cuts in anything which nurtures the intellect or the heart, and concentrating on the physical - carers, nurses, houses, roads etc.

What a shame that would be - what a terrible backward step for civilisation.

soontobe Fri 02-Jan-15 21:05:54

I think it is the children,with parents who are not interested in books, who have the most to lose.
Adults will still be able to access cheap books if they want to.

goldengirl Fri 02-Jan-15 21:08:42

It's a pity that libraries can't be expanded to be more than libraries eg community centres which could include computer courses, lunch clubs, book groups, children's reading / writing clubs. Having a property only loaning books, mags and DVDs is now becoming a luxury sadly. Though we are contributing through our council tax of course

soontobe Fri 02-Jan-15 21:12:38

Our library still looks and functions the same as normal. It is very good.
I am not sure why it has not had cuts yet. Though there may be less staff?

henetha Fri 02-Jan-15 21:23:06

As a huge library fan myself, I understand how you feel. But it is a fact, - locally here anyway, - that they have been closing right over the Christmas - New Year period for several years now. It isn't new, not to my knowlege.
I too am longing to get some new books as I have read the 5 that I took out before Christmas. Thank goodness for my Kindle.
The library in Newton Abbot was recently closed for months and months for refurbishment, and I feared the worst. But, it re-opened with all sorts of great facilities and a better system etc... So not all libraries are being cut back, thank goodness.
Is this a record? - I've been a member of the Devon Library Service for 71 years, joining when I was 6 and I am now 77. The pleasure and value I have obtained from libraries is incredible. I am a huge fan and hope they continue forever.

absent Fri 02-Jan-15 21:25:36

I have always used libraries a lot and still do. It is dreadfully sad and appallingly shortsighted to reduce their opening times and – worse – close them down. I am glad to say that my local library is thriving and always busy. My youngest grandson – three in March – looks forward to our weekly visit on Friday mornings and remembers a lot about the books we have taken out together in the past year. It's an invaluable asset to any family, even those like ours with more books than shelves in their houses.

crun Fri 02-Jan-15 21:43:12

The libraries are like much of our public infrastructure that was built from scratch by the Victorians, now we're told there isn't the money to maintain them even though we must have ten times the GDP. We're one of the richest countries on the planet, it's not about a lack of money, just about the priorities where we spend it.

whenim64 Fri 02-Jan-15 21:59:43

I've always used libraries and take my grandaughter to her busy local library every week for stories and nursery rhymes. I was shocked to be told that 8 out of 12 in the borough are to be closed down this year. This one is fabulous, well used, but there's a newer one a mile away - also well used. One of them is bound to go and as it's in an affluent residential area you can bet it'll be sold to private housing developers.

Greyduster Fri 02-Jan-15 22:01:58

Our libraries here suffered hugely from cutbacks last year. There was a public consultation and (despite protests in many areas) the upshot was that many libraries closed while some areas maintained a library only if volunteers could be found in sufficient numbers to staff it and they have limited funding, so it's debatable as to how long they will stay viable. Our local library suffered staffing cuts and a reduction in opening hours, but was reprieved because it serves a very large conurbation. We visit the library regularly and would sorely miss it if it weren't there. Referring back to goldengirl's post, it incorporates many of the things you say you would like to see - computer facilities and tuition, children's clubs, discussion groups, local history group, etc.

Stansgran Fri 02-Jan-15 22:21:35

We had a new library built in Durham and there was more mention of the computers than books. I order books on line and find that for a fee I get the books I want in good condition and don't have the clutter in the house storing them. I love owning books but I'm limited for space. I also buy for my kindle and from amazon. I collect lists of books . I copied many of Mumsnets reading lists from last year. They were very helpful in letting me know what's popular . Libraries are a sign that we are civilised.

durhamjen Fri 02-Jan-15 22:35:52

It's not just libraries. According to the latest WDYTYA magazine, a senior member of staff at the National Archives said that in some parts of the country there will be no money for archive services by 2020. Budget cuts mean that even brand new buildings will no longer be staffed or fulfil the purpose for which they were built.
If you want to keep them open and working, it is suggested that you join your local Friends group now, and organise.

NotTooOld Fri 02-Jan-15 23:08:55

I, too, have always loved and used libraries wherever I have lived. If you are in Birmingham you should take a look at the fabulous new library in the centre. It is a fantastic building and contains books as well as computers, I was delighted to see!

durhamjen Sat 03-Jan-15 00:32:33

There is a petition to stop the library at the Imperial War Museum from closing. It is having a £4m. cut in its annual funding, which would mean 80 job losses as well as the library closing.

Greyduster Sat 03-Jan-15 10:23:17

I remember standing at a bus stop with a lady I often chatted to who, when I said in was off to the library, said "urgh no, I never use libraries - think how many people have handled those books! They must be filthy!" I must admit, I had never given it a passing thought, but as soon as I started getting books out to read to my grandson, I would wipe them over with a dettol wipe (even some of the pages if they looked particularly grubby!). Please feel free to make derisory noises in my direction!

AlieOxon Sat 03-Jan-15 10:32:24

I never wipe them for me, but twice I have pointed out that a book I have had, actually STUNK of cigarettes, horrible. (They took them out of circulation.)
I do however clean things from charity this discrimination??

soontobe Sat 03-Jan-15 10:43:05

How long do viruses or bugs or whatever take to die?
I must admit, I had never thought to wipe books or charity shop items.
Most of the books I take out have not been taken out by anyone else in months usually.

booboo Sat 03-Jan-15 10:44:02

I agree that stocks have been decimated. My library used to have a fantastic reference section which has been 'removed'. Actually most of the books were thrown into a skip, some of them irreplaceable/out of print.
There is a lot of contemporary fiction and very little non fiction.
It is a myth that you can find all info online. I teach A level English and if I didn't have an extensive library of my own at home then my students would not have access to any original or unusual information to enhance their research.
Try finding some of the old literary critics that may be out of fashion but made invaluable comments on classic works. They simply disappear from my student's consciousness unless they are on wikipedia

soontobe Sat 03-Jan-15 10:54:37

That is sad.
Old good recipes disappear in that way too.