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Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Charging for PCs in Public Libraries

Havering is the latest Borough to be threatening deep cuts to its library service, roughly half the staff in fact.  I was interested to see that one of their proposals is to introduce charging for PC use:

"A 50p charge for one hours use of a library computer is also proposed. The machines are used by members of the community to apply for jobs, and by residents who do not have computers at home. Cllr Wallace said: “50p for an hour, what’s a fizzy drink price? It’s the same price as a fizzy drink.”"

If I am right about the changes in the statutory definition of library services, this may be unlawful.  Just as it is illegal to charge for books, if the PC use becomes part of the statutory service (as I think the Lincolnshire judgement says), I think it may be unlawful to charge for PCs.

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