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Advocating for Libraries in an Era of Cuts
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Advocating for Libraries in an Era of Cuts


Presentation for the SHARP Conference in Dublin, 25th June 2012.

Presentation for the SHARP Conference in Dublin, 25th June 2012.

Published in Education
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  • 1. Advocating for libraries in an era of cuts Lauren Smith Department of Computer and Information Studies University of StrathclydeCC image http://www.flickr.com/photos/julishannon/2231447797
  • 2. Spending Cuts • £81bn cut from public spending over four years • 7% cut for local councils • 265 libraries (224 buildings and 41 mobiles) are currently under threat or have been closed/left council control since 1/4/12 out of c. 4612 in the UK • Emphasis on Localism for provision of public servicesCC image http://www.flickr.com/photos/conservatives/4008280565
  • 3. “There Is No Alternative” • Tax avoidance and evasion by corporations and the rich and is estimated to cost the state £95bn a year • Average pay of FTSE 100 directors has risen 55% • Corporation tax has been cut • The government have not delivered on a manifesto pledge to clamp down on tax avoidance • Last year banks paid out over £7bn in bonuses • There has been no reform of the banks http://www.ukuncut.org.uk/CC image http://www.flickr.com/photos/bodgerbrooks/1130008623/
  • 4. Stakeholdershttp://www.flickr.com/photos/shaneglobal/5117475301 http://www.flickr.com/photos/edthomasphotos/3777323097 http://www.flickr.com/photos/xmacex/5601211070 http://www.flickr.com/photos/smcl/3727498229 http://www.flickr.com/photos/hawkexpress/328322067 http://www.flickr.com/photos/debbcollins/2219426400
  • 5. Arts Council England • Museums, Libraries and Archives Council abolished October 2011 • Responsibilities passed to Arts Council England • £13m funds cut to £3m • ‘Envisioning the Library of the Future’ May 2012 • Expertise in arts rather than education – emphasis on cultureCC image http://www.flickr.com/photos/stuartpilbrow/2942333106/
  • 6. eBook Publishers • DRM • Pricing structures • Remote lending • Compatible formats • Whether publishers want to work in partnership with libraries at allCC image http://www.flickr.com/photos/thekellyscope/5311724037/
  • 7. The Role of the Public Library • Education? • Aspirational? • Entertainment? • Populist? • Leisure? • Symbolic? • Information? • Neutral? • Entertainment? • Values?CC image http://www.flickr.com/photos/caro6302/5366682656
  • 8. Campaigning • Local campaign groups • Voices for the Library • The Library Campaign • UNISON • Chartered Institute for Library and Information Professionals (CILIP) • The Bookseller • Authors • Campaign for the BookCC image http://www.flickr.com/photos/52059084@N02/5419253896/
  • 9. Legal Challenges • May 2011: Legal action underway in Suffolk until council performed u-turn • November 2011: High Court ruling that Gloucestershire County Council’s original plans for public library service cuts were unlawful • March 2012: Court found Surrey Council’s plans for volunteer libraries were unlawful • July 2012: Application for Judicial Review in Doncaster challenging elected mayor’s refusal to change budget despite two thirds of councillors voting in favour of an amendmentCC image http://www.flickr.com/photos/jsmoorman/2298671281
  • 10. Local Solutions for Future Local Library Services • Public-private partnership • Merging with GP surgery • Merging council, police and cultural services • Merging library service across councils • Merging different types of libraryCC image http://www.flickr.com/photos/daniel_solis/4520024767
  • 11. “There have already been library closures andmany of these new projects are in their infancy.Though we hope they all succeed this is far fromguaranteed. Its vital government recognises thatthis record of innovation does not mean it cankeep cutting funding and expect councils to workmiracles, perpetually doing more with less.Theres a critical mass and were already stretchedto the limit. Further cuts on top of those werealready managing could well result in libraryclosures across much of the country.” Local Government Association
  • 12. Closures • Reduced access to learning and information resources • Impact on communities and local businesses • Impact on reputation of council • Impact on authors and publishersCC image http://www.flickr.com/photos/titoperez/3437322060
  • 13. Volunteer-Run Libraries Benefits Drawbacks • Community • Pressure on involvement and communities control • Sustainability • Library remains • Quality open • Skills • Cheaper for council • Legal issuesCC image http://www.flickr.com/photos/timberland/5616840214
  • 14. Privatisation • Open Public Services agenda • Profit motive • Potential charging for services • Cost to council • Loss of neutrality • Risk of bankruptcy • Lack of transparency • Reduced staff pensions and employment rightsCC image http://www.flickr.com/photos/thesamizdat/7163968772
  • 15. Library Values 1. Libraries serve humanity 2. Respect all forms by which knowledge is communicated 3. Use technology intelligently to enhance service 4. Protect free access to knowledge 5. Honor the past and create the future Gorman, M. (1995) ‘Five new laws of librarianship’. American Libraries, 26 (8), pp.784-5CC image http://www.flickr.com/photos/cheesy42/6871842472/
  • 16. Librarians and Library Staff • Professional education • Trained, skilled and experienced • Technical abilities • Collection management • Neutral and non-judgemental www.questionablecontent.net • Paid to perform tasks volunteers may not want toCC image http://www.flickr.com/photos/hankzby/4272697578
  • 17. Public Lending Right • DCMS Consultation on proposals to transfer PLR funding and functions to British Library from PLR in Stockton on Tees http://www.culture.gov.uk/consultations/9019.aspx • PLR will not apply to non-council supported volunteer-run libraries • Copyright legislation means that volunteer libraries may need licence from author to loan booksCC image http://www.flickr.com/photos/bookgrl/214410190
  • 18. Literacy "According to Unesco (the United Nations agency which promotes knowledge), the biggest single indicator of whether a child is going to thrive at school and in work is whether or not they read for pleasure.” Frank Cottrell Boyce http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-18506533CC image http://www.flickr.com/photos/mrsdkrebs/5913123665/
  • 19. Fragmentation • Lack of national standards for libraries • ‘Postcode lottery’ across country and within local authorities • Inefficient, un-networked service locally and nationallyCC image http://www.flickr.com/photos/hollud/412466370