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Herefordshire Library Services Under Threat

(12 Posts)
lettie Tue 11-Aug-15 15:25:01

Herefordshire Council propose to close or diminish the services of libraries throughout Herefordshire. Gransnetherefordshire wants to know what GNs in the area think about those closures. With tough financial decisions to make over the next five years should the local authority maintain current library services as a priority? Please visit our forum on this topic and make your views known:

Elrel Tue 11-Aug-15 18:15:40

Birmingham Libary service is so strapped for funds it has reduced the opening hours of the super expensive award winning new central library, failed to use designated money to rebuild our modest local branch and announced that no new books will be bought for the rest of the year.

annodomini Tue 11-Aug-15 19:12:01

Our small town's library has had a total re-vamp, combining its entrance with the Civic Centre's. It is also now much more spacious and has a rather puzzzling automated system for borrowing and returning books. There are new meeting rooms for small groups as well. I don't know why East Cheshire's library provision is flourishing while other authorities are cutting back, but I'm very glad it is.

HildaW Tue 11-Aug-15 19:55:10

I think we have to be honest about how much small local libraries are used in their present incarnation.

Historically we needed the days before internet and ready accessibility to books (Amazon and supermarkets etc). I enjoyed using the Reference library as a child (peace and quiet and specialist books). Now it can all be done on a lap top in a coffee shop.

If there really in not enough money to go for children, elderly, mental welfare and healthcare etc might need to take precedence. Its a dreadful shame but I have honestly not used our local library (Leominster) since we moved here 5 years ago. I am an avid reader and often researching all sorts as both my husband and I are the type that will always self educate.

rosesarered Tue 11-Aug-15 19:58:04

I agree Hilda, and I have not used a library for about nine years.
I realise that other people and children do of course, but few if any are closing completely, just doing fewer hours perhaps.

kittylester Tue 11-Aug-15 21:17:35

I haven't used our village library for over 20 years as I buy paperbacks in Sainsbury's and look thjngs up on line. However, our local community association have taken over running our village library and I have been amazed by the number of people who come in to do local history research, genealogical research, use the free computers, read the papers etc etc. We have children borrowing, older people borrowing and everyone in between. I was initially horrified that our library might close but I now think it is an ideal opportunity for local people to do something for their community by volunteering a small amount of time to keep libraries going.

Elrel Wed 26-Aug-15 20:02:44

With our local library closed in February 2014 so many people are missing out. Toddlers need picture books and are missing out on visiting the library , teenagers need a place to do and research homework, older residents, some of whom need large print or Quick Reads can't get books. Families without Internet access can no longer use the library computers. Not everyone has transport and part of the area served is officially designated as of 'High Deprivation'. A real loss in so many ways.

grandfriend Fri 28-Aug-15 11:18:51

libraries are great and should stay.

whitewave Fri 28-Aug-15 11:26:24

Built up by the tax payer (us) destroyed by this government.

whenim64 Fri 28-Aug-15 12:12:18

This happened in Trafford and the small, heavily-used local library was closed for the want of £48k, despite offers of fund-raising and volunteers which could have saved it for at least another two years. Campaigns and protests fell on deaf ears. My DGD, 3, didn't understand why she couldn't go there any more. I started taking her to the pre-school sessions for nursery rhymes and story-telling at the big library in the town centre, instead. Nowhere to park, over-crowded sessions (I counted 40 adults, 47 children at the last session) and the children couldn't enjoy the experience because it was so impersonal. Such a loss to the community and lacking in foresight.

Eloethan Fri 28-Aug-15 12:38:14

I think there is some truth in saying that if people don't use the libraries then they can't really complain when they start to disappear. However, when libraries become really run down and the same old books are on display because stocks are not being replenished and new titles introduced, it is understandable that people start to lose interest. In the present political climate, I'd rather there be a few less libraries that are larger, well equipped and well stocked.

When day centres for the elderly, women's refuges, youth counselling services, etc., are being closed, I think libraries should come lower down the list. That does, I know, conflict with my anti-austerity views but given that we have a situation where public services are being starved of resources and there is little likelihood in the near future of that changing, I do think essential services should be prioritised.

Harlequin Fri 28-Aug-15 14:19:45

Libraries are about so much more than borrowing books.

A library is the one place you are allowed to enter without paying a fee, joining a group etc. It's a place of safety for all those left wandering after Care in the Community/Gov cuts in funding closed other meeting places/homes.

Not everyone has a computer at home and increasingly we are being asked to conduct our affairs online. Most internet users are accessing the web via a mobile device but this small screen display doesn't work so well if you need to enter complex data i.e. apply for a job, etc. or if you are visually impaired, or need to save or print a copy. We need to have public access on PCs in libraries.

Those in receipt of Job Seekers Allowance are required to make a set number of job applications online per week as a condition of receiving benefit. On their low income is it presumed they can buy a computer and fund a connection?

Libraries run Book Clubs, story times, reading promotions, help with homework, newspapers and provide up to date and valid reference material. They organise home delivery to housebound readers, run Audio book services for those with a visual impairment and lend large-print books. You don't see many of those in charity/second-hand shops.

Amazing as it may seem, not everything on the web is true - witness Wikipedia's attempts to censor what people contribute to its pages. Some of it is absolute falsehood, speculation and rubbish.

Google et al don't always find the most appropriate resources - web sites employ devious tricks to promote themselves to search engines.

Qualified librarians/Information technologists employed (in shrinking numbers in public libraries) can find a way through this undergrowth, using a combination of print and online sources.

Did you know it takes 6 years to become a Chartered Librarian? The same as a vet/dentist/doctor. And working close to the general public is an education in itself - they can become wise people!

And Libraries lend books - and usually for up to 3 weeks without charge. Books in good condition, books that aren't sticky, torn, or with yellowed-pages.

So often you hear respected prominent people say how much of their childhood they spent in libraries. How they worked their way through the children's library and moved on to the adult library. We need to make this possible for future generations too.

I'll get off my soap box now but I do feel so very passionately about this.