Letter: A lesson learnt

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Sir: Richard Luce, when he was Minister for Arts and Libraries, published a Green Paper, Paying For Our Public Library Service. Some of it was very reactionary. I recall proposals - said to emanate from the Adam Smith Institute - for a charged-for first-class service, and a free second-class service.

I chaired the working party of the Library and Information Services Council that was asked to respond to the Green Paper. I have always thought it to Sir Richard's credit that he preferred our arguments to those in the Green Paper, which he dropped. His article 'Libraries: a ticket to civilisation' (27 October) shows that he has not forgotten the essence of our case. I strongly support his call for libraries to do some core business analysis, and to concentrate on books and information. That is what we need of them. No business or organisation, today, can afford to be other than closely targeted.

Yours faithfully,

DAVID WHITAKER

Chairman, Whitaker's Almanack

London, WC1

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