YP Letters: Volunteers are no substitute for library staff

Author Ann Cleeves.Author Ann Cleeves.
Author Ann Cleeves.
From: Roger Backhouse, Orchard Road, Upper Poppleton, York.

CONGRATULATIONS on the excellent article by Ann Cleeves on why we need librarians and libraries (The Yorkshire Post, March 30).

Computer literacy is far from universal and even with ready access to IT, most can’t easily find all the resources that good library staff can find.

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There’s been a marked deterioration in library services. Public libraries once had good systems for borrowing books from other authorities to meet reader requests.

Now obtaining a book not in the York system is a matter of applying to the British Library, an expensive business.

Inter-library cooperation is a thing of the distant past, to our loss. While I appreciate the efforts of the remaining staff at York Explore, using volunteers, however well- intentioned, is not a satisfactory substitute for experienced staff. There are plenty of genuine voluntary groups short of volunteers. Why should volunteers be expected to cover for jobs robbery?

I am left feeling that to the present Government, libraries are a “don’t matter” service. For me and many others libraries were and remain an important part of my wider education. I don’t want to see that experience lost to others.