Letter: We need libraries to beat recession

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The Independent Online
Sir: I am delighted to learn (Letters, 30 September) from the deputy director of the Science Reference and Information Service of the British Library that vandalised and mutilated reference journals are replaced.

Clearly, I was simply unlucky: some years ago I reported damage to a run of an American electronics journal, not available anywhere else in London. The direct consequence was that the previous several years' volumes were withdrawn altogether, leaving just the two most recent volumes, and shortly afterwards, these, too, were removed and the subscription cancelled.

The decline in this library is sad to see, and deeply frustrating to the serious researcher. In May, you reported the acquisition budget of the British Library as having been cut by 41 per cent in four years. Many journal subscriptions have been abandoned in consequence of these cuts over the past few years.

Yet, if we are ever to sustain a rejuvenated manufacturing economy, how can we survive with the damage being done to our scientific, trade and university libraries? With further major cuts in all government expenditure just round the corner, may I put in a plea on behalf of all our libraries, which are surely creators and not drains of true wealth?

Yours faithfully,


Southend, Essex

3 October