How silly of me – I thought I’d trained to do what I do but apparently I could be replaced by volunteers

I know it’s been a while since I have blogged (I have a pile of things I should have blogged about but have been a bit busy getting the library ready!). Today something has arisen that I just had to write about.

Today KPMG released a report about public services . In one paragraph (page 19) they suggest that public libraries could be run by volunteers like in North America. They also claim that usage figures have fallen (despite many reports suggesting otherwise).
This report is insulting to my profession… which today is as vital as it’s ever been. Volunteers have their place but I didn’t train for 3 years for nothing. If libraries were only run by volunteers I’m willing to bet they would become the staid institutions the people writing the report obviously think they are.
Fatally for a report suggesting libraries are not useful they don’t have a single reference. Claims are made wildly without a single source! Now if only they’d involved a librarian …

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BBC discussion about use of libraries …

On the BBC’s Have you Say board yesterday there was a discussion entitled “Do you still use your library?

It reflects very much the range of opinion about what a library should do. Should it still be the quiet temple of books or to survive does it need to move forward and include multimedia and computer services which in turn bring a certain degree of noise.

I think it will probably be a long time before either public or academic libraries resolve the needs of both traditional library users and more modern ones.