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Thursday, 20th June 2013

UK: The Public Library Service Under Attack

From the Introduction:

Since the Coalition government took office in May 2010, there has been a concerted programme of cutbacks in local government funding and this has had a clear impact on public libraries. Net expenditure in the UK public library service declined from £1,066,410,000 in 2010-11 to £1,011,506,000 in 2011-12 and to an estimated £963,284,000 in 2012-13...(T)he Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) reported that across the UK in 2011-12 there was a cut in the number of library service points of 201, that is, a net reduction of 201 static and mobile libraries. This follows a cut of 146 in the previous year... Public Libraries News (www.publiclibrariesnews. com) estimates that 78 libraries and 14 mobiles were lost in 2012-13 and reports that since 1 April 2013 a further 280 libraries (245 buildings and 35 mobiles) are under threat, have been closed or have left council control.

In addition to the decline in the number of libraries and mobile libraries, there was a reduction in library staff numbers, in the number of library visits by the public, the number of ‘active borrowers’, the overall number of books issued, the number of web visits, the number of terminals with library catalogue and internet access and the number of electronic workstations available to users per 10,000 population.

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Having begun his career in academic libraries, Adrian Janes has subsequently worked extensively in public libraries, chiefly in enquiry work as an Information Services librarian. In this role he has had particular responsibility for information from both the UK Government and the European Union. He wrote a detailed report on sources for the latter which was published by FreePint in 2007, and has contributed articles to FreePint and ResourceShelf. He is involved in training in information literacy and the use of online reference resources.

A Contributing Editor to DocuTicker, he also write reviews for Pennyblackmusic.

Adrian can be reached at adrian.janes@freepint.com

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