Leading authors spoke out in the Guardian today, criticising government cuts and proposed library closures. Unsurprisingly Gloucestershire was mentioned amongst the services to be worse hit.
Phillip Pullman showed his support for librarians, saying:
“The librarian is not simply a checkout clerk whose simple task could be done by anyone and need not be paid for,” he said. “Those who think that every expert can be replaced by a cheerful volunteer who can step in and do a complex task for nothing but a cup of tea are those who fundamentally want to see every single public service sold off, closed down, abolished.”
Kate Mosse says,
“I do not understand how the government can talk on the one hand about the disgrace of adults whose reading is not at an appropriate level for their age, yet consider cutting this frontline support for literacy.”
A spokesperson from the Department of Culture Media and Sport was quoted in the article as saying the use of volunteers is a “radical efficiency option” local authorities should be considering and goes on to say,
“Local authorities have a legal duty to provide a public library service to their communities, who should feel empowered to comment on what they want from their local service and get involved.”
“Radical efficiency savings”? What about quality of service? What impact will these “radical” drastic changes have? Friends of Gloucestershire Libraries are commenting on what we want from our local service….but will anyone listen? We are saying we want well stocked libraries, staffed by trained people, provided for by the county council. It is what we are legally entitled to.