Save Our Libraries – Use a Different Funding Model
600 libraries in the UK are under threat of closure. Inevitably this will decimate communities, reduce literacy, hinder education, reduce footfall in town centres and reduce social mobility. But there is a viable alternative that could keep libraries open and cut costs at the same time.
At Upper Norwood in South London, we have a local library that for 111 years has been the UK's only independently run, but publicly funded library. The library's autonomy on everything from book buying to IT has enabled it to negotiate excellent discounts on services and ensured that only 18% of funds are spent on back office/support costs, compared to 45% in other local state run libraries. Add in a flatter management structure and this is a library model that runs at half the costs of most local boroughs. Despite this, our library is one of those under threat.
We believe that Councils across the country should ‘take a leaf out of our book’. Don’t close our libraries but use this proven independent library model as a blueprint for the future.
I agree this is a great idea. And Croydon Council need to look at intelligent ideas like this and learn. Its sad that that all it seems to achieve is axeing services and this is a chance to use the communities views which are well thought out and try to get all libraries functioning more efficiently. Then there would be less costs.
Libraries are many things to many people and they can have a profound impact on the lives of young people. They should not be closed, changed, or altered unless it benefits their users.
Gordon Ross commented
Gordon Ross. Green Party GLA candidate for Croydon & Sutton.
UNJL is a popular local library and Croydon Council should continue to fund it properly along with Lambeth. The Council says cuts are inevitable; they are not, they are a choice.
The Green Party in Brighton has managed to produce a budget that means NO libraries will be closed down there, they same could be done in Croydon. Croydon Council could save money by not building themselves fancy new offices and an expensive waste incinerator, then they'd have plenty of money for libraries.
UNJL is a much-loved and much-used local library. I visit around three times a week, mainly to rent DVD's and CD's. To lose this well run library would be awful. LB Croydon should be pushed back to the negotiating table and continue to contribute to the library, but LB Southwark should be brought in also as so many of the library's members and users are Southwarkl residents. Some funding from Southwark along with reduced funding from Croydon would go a long way to enabling the UNJL to continue.
My husband is disabled and has to use his mobility scooter to get to the library, if the Upper Norwood library closes how will he be able to reach a library? Reading is his now his only hobby. But then governments are not really interested in the old or disabled any more!!!
Our local library is at the centre of our community. People of all ages and backgrounds frequent and procure its facilities. At a time when literacy and numeracy are a key point in the Oftead inspections it seems ludicrous to even consider closing the very same that encourages reading. Please, save our library.
Charlotte Coates commented
Please, please do not close our library. The children's section alone, and the tireless work of Fiona in engaging the children with books and literacy, should have its own award. We need more libraries, not less.
s perales commented
What is happening to our community? This valuable resource MUST stay open! I for one have found so many occasions it saved the day; research, homework with the kids, fun with the kids, tranquility and escape from the kids, advice, ideas etc. etc. DO NOT CLOSE OUR LIBRARY!
Such a great little library my children love going there. It would be a shame to see it go.
Young, old, teens, adults, all nationalities use libraries - not just for reading books - they are central to local information, provide a focus for local life. Technology although provided in most libraries will never replace the written paperbound book completely. Books dont function on outdated media or operating systems they are written on paper and will survive most horrors except perhaps fire and flood. You can pop one in your bag or pocket and tuck yourself into a chair or bed and curl up with a good page turning read. What is more with a paper based book you can always remember where you are - not so with the electronic version. There will always be a need for the local library- dont throw the baby out with the bathwater
Libraries provide a valuble possible source of information on a vast number of topics and issues. Consequently their use has the potential to undermine the dumbing down of the population of the UK which would allegedly be against the government's (past and present) national strategy.
The less we know and the less we can find out about the easier it would possibly be for government agencies to present us with incorrect or false information. Not that they would ever do that of course.
Reducing the number of libraries and taking control of the internet would be useful strategies to employ by and government when not acting in the best interests of the majority. Not that such a thing would ever happen in the UK.
Libraries are an integral part of our communities, not only for the young people, who use them, but equally for our elderly community who have 'grown up' with libraries, who depend on them and, on many occasions, use them as a social venue. They are critical to small communities and without them, where would our young people go to research various topics and continue that age old tradition of 'reading'. It is no wonder recent statistics have shown such drastic results in abilities of young children to read if you are taking away resources such as libraries which could clearly help with this.
This Library is a tranquil environment for the young to study away from the hustle of home and the bustle of life. It is a credit to the team who have set such a high standard and a true strength to the local community.
Bryher Scudamore commented
This library is worth saving and the way it is run is a blueprint for others. Please vote for this campaign.