Scotland has launched a scheme for automatic library cards, which has an obvious superficial appeal. Two things surprise me about this scheme.
The first is the funding level _ a mere £80,000. The report doesn't describe what that buys, but across Scotland's 32 local authorities, it can't be much. A city like Edinburgh, with a population of about half a million won't really notice a few thousand pounds.
The second surprise is that there is no mention of other automatic library card schemes in Wales and in England, of which Brent has one. The evaluation of these pilots showed that success was not as easy as one might think. In particular, they need a lot of follow up if they are really going to work. That means staff time and resources. There is something wrong with our political culture that looking at the evidence just doesn't seem to be a natural part of our policy making. That is a major reason why our public bodies often make mistakes unnecessarily.