Letter: Libraries' new leaf
Friday 23 April 1999
Sir: I am the pinstriped twit that Terence Blacker heard arguing for library privatisation ("No, I'm not jealous of Roald Dahl", 20 April).
Actually, I'm far too cool to wear pinstripes and think the library service is so awful that you couldn't privatise it anyway.
Still, if Blacker is right that spending on new books has dropped, that three-quarters of authorities have cut opening hours and that half of them have closed libraries, it is obvious that we need to get new money into the system.
There is no point in looking to the Government. We need to bring in new money from people who appreciate libraries and would willingly pay to use their services. It means developing libraries as a fresh and dynamic part of the leisure industry. It means getting libraries out of those run-down council buildings and closer to their users through innovative outreach methods. It means inviting new providers to run libraries in new ways, instead of closing them.
With fresh sources of funds from a wider base of users, libraries could then afford to supply the high standard of free public information and recreation to which they aspire.
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