As protests erupt nationwide, as hundreds of libraries are cut to pieces, or dumped on to reluctant ‘volunteers’ to run, Ed Vaizey announces – an inquiry into public libraries.
To report… er, by the end of the year.
Another report is the last thing we need. We are knee-deep in reports already, and they all say much the same thing.
What we need is urgent action.
For years, library users have begged the minister to take a bit of interest in what’s happening. The Library Campaign sent him a list of 23 urgent problems confronting ‘volunteer’ libraries – last May. His response? Nothing.
Library users don’t feature in the panel set to conduct the inquiry. As the minister is actively encouraging as many ‘volunteers’ as possible to ‘run a library’ – after all, any fool can do it – that’s not very funny.
A total of 470 libraries (393 buildings and 77 mobiles) are currently reported as likely to be closed or passed to ‘volunteers’ – or have already been closed/left council control just since April 1, 2013 (out
of c.4265 in the UK).
Local councils will set their budgets later this month.
Plans for further mass cuts, closures or dumping are a certainty.
JUST FANCY THAT!
In 2010, when the (former) government’s review was published, Ed Vaizey (then shadow minister) said,
“The Library Modernisation Review was a classic ministerial excuse for not acting. My view is to get down to it and get stuck in.”
Since 2010, the libraries situation has become near-catastrophic.
JUST DO IT!
The Library Campaign urges all who care about libraries to contact the inquiry. And to tell the minister we are sick of his inaction.