As Tolstoy didn’t quite say: ‘All happy libraries are alike; each unhappy library is unhappy in its own way.’ So, when TLC compiles evidence for a consultation, we make sure we understand the local situation in full. Thus it was in Redditch, where an outstanding local library could be demolished to create a rather empty piazza.
But some factors are always consistent from case to case. It’s always obvious that libraries are hugely popular. It’s always useful to channel this via a well informed Friends group. Friends do detailed research. They publicise things that are not always well publicised. They speak up, when council staff and members are constrained in what they can say. And they can be fully independent, when others try to make the affair a party political spat…
Both public and Friends groups always come up with original, creative alternative ideas. What a shame these never get a chance to emerge until unpopular plans are well advanced.

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