Library Crisis in UK To Worsen in 2013
The library crisis in UK is expected to worsen in 2013 with public libraries undergoing more cuts, experts predict.
2012 was not a good year for libraries in the UK, with the number of book being borrowed going down drastically. Now, experts predict that the situation is likely to worsen with public libraries forced to make more cuts. Government budget cuts have forced many libraries to shut down its branches. The Sheffield city council has been forced to appeal for help from the community to save 14 of its 27 community libraries.
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"We need your help," said councillor Mazher Iqbal, Sheffield city council's cabinet member for communities and inclusion to locals, as the council faces a £50m budget gap for 2014 and announced the need to save £1.6m from its library service. "We want to hear as many ideas and proposals to help us to save as many libraries as possible, so the service has a viable future. I want to be clear that we want to keep libraries open but the scale of the budget difficulties we are facing mean things have to change."
Iqbal continued that it was "particularly unfair that whilst we and many other councils in the north are facing cuts of such a scale that we are having to look at the future of our library service some of the wealthiest areas in the country are receiving almost no cuts at all. This is deeply unfair and says everything about the values of this government."
The government cuts have also force the the London borough of Islington's council to save $1600m between April 2011 and March 2015 to keep them running. If they do not achieve this number, they may have to close down altogether.
Council leader Catherine West said cuts could mean "that we would just have to stop doing certain things. There are things we have to do by law, such as social services and schools. But there are other things we do that we decide to do, such as run libraries, children's centres, youth clubs and offer help with employment. All of that is at risk."Council leader Catherine West said cuts could mean "that we would just have to stop doing certain things. There are things we have to do by law, such as social services and schools. But there are other things we do that we decide to do, such as run libraries, children's centres, youth clubs and offer help with employment. All of that is at risk."
"I don't think that 2013 is going to be any better than 2012 was to be honest. In fact if anything it's going to be much worse. The postal lottery of library provision will continue to get worse, with some councils still doing their best to provide a good quality service according to their legal requirement, while other councils will continue to attempt to impose shortsighted cuts on their communities," said Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP) president Phil Bradley.