There’s now a set of four ‘universal offers’ from public libraries – information, resources and support on (1) reading, (2) health, (3) finding information and (4) coping with the digital world (including benefits claims).
It’s a fantastic piece of work, but…. says The Library Campaign, the only national body representing users and supporters of public libraries. This has been needed for years.
It’s a great achievement: -
- A joint project by the miscellany of agencies confusingly involved in libraries.
- A clear picture of what public libraries can give people – and that’s a lot
- A coherent framework where library staff can access – and use! - masses of already-developed successful schemes, toolkits, promotion materials and research data.
Brilliant work has always been done by public libraries.
But it has been popping up all over the place, never properly harnessed, never publicised. It all badly needed pulling together, so everyone gets equal benefit and maximum use is made of resources.
We congratulate The Reading Agency, the Society of Chief Librarians and the Arts Council on a major piece of work. We wonder why it wasn’t done years ago by the agencies most responsible – the DCMS (Department for Culture, Media & Sport) and the now-defunct MLA (Museums, Libraries & Archives Council).
BUT… This comes just as cuts are going deep into the bone, expert staff are being sacked, basic equipment (especially digital) becoming a huge expense. And hundreds of libraries are being turfed off into ‘the community’, each to survive as best it can. They can’t offer a universal anything.
SO… It’s great to have such a clear statement of the fantastic service that libraries offer, to all kinds of people. It’s needed more than ever.
It’s tragic that it all comes together just as public libraries are being cut to ribbons. We wish public libraries luck! They really deserve it.