Library Cuts

Another day, another story about #ukgov cuts and today it’s the turn of libraries. When I turned on the TV at breakfast, they were discussing BBC: A novel idea: Take a look inside the library pub. There’s also a discussion on the terrible BBC “speak your branes” site.

People have quickly pointed out that the library pub is quite small (a few hundred books) and couldn’t run without the support of the council library service (according to FranksCasket and msarahwickham), so it’s not an obvious cost-cutter. I guess the most endangered are the mobile libraries, as the books could be delivered on request by parcel or courier services without skilled staff. North Somerset has already consulted on cutting the number of stops (the results will be published by 06 Sep 2010) so that might be happen anyway.

The reply which made me smile the most was “Have a better plan: put a pub in the library” which, of course, the visionaries in Norwich have already done. Well, a cafe-bar in the same building as the Millennium Library, at least. Not quite Real Ale, but it’s a start.

Personally, I feel library IT should be in line for cuts before library branches (I really don’t enjoy using the local council library catalogue and the Windows-based PC kiosk control system feels like an expensive nasty experience to me), but it’s all connected. More flexible library IT like Koha, with its web-based user interfaces, common hardware and possibility of distributed cooperative support, could probably support microbranches better than some of the legacy systems.

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