The Library Association is extremely concerned about sales of this kind, which can represent a serious threat to the cultural heritage of the nation (and which, for similar reasons, are increasingly common in other kinds of libraries, for example in the academic sector). Viewed over a long term, almost every sale of books from a major collection has brought only short-term gains. Inflation will ensure that apparently high prices realised at auction will seem low when seen in retrospect some time later. We strongly urge libraries to consider carefully alternative methods of raising funds.
However, it makes little sense to attempt to see this activity in isolation from the other pressures that are facing libraries today. Together with the closing of libraries, the cuts in opening hours, the reductions in professional staffing, the reductions in bookfunds, it all adds up to a much more serious threat, to the cultural, education, recreational and economic fabric of our society. Against that background, it seems entirely unreasonable to describe library authorities as avaricious.
The Library Association
London, WC1Reuse content