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Saturday, 26 January 2013

Multi-tasking in Libraries

It is reported that libraries in the Wirral are being made responsible for social security payments.  The Wirral is an iconic name to library campaigners, as it is the only authority ever to be ordered to have an inquiry under the 1964 Act (the Charteris report).

 I assume that councillors are understandably afraid of such national notoriety a second time.  Instead they appear to be slowly converting their buildings into something other than libraries by adding new services.

Brent is certainly pursuing co-located services (in the jargon).  However, I am clear that , whilst libraries gain from extra footfall from nearby activities, their role is distinct.  Librarians need particular training.  It is not just "stamping books" to quote Helen Mountfield QC.

Wirral seem to be terrified of reducing building numbers, and therefore they are going down the alternative route: turning buildings called libraries into something else.

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