Libraries and a sad story of neglect – Yorkshire Post Letters

From: Roger Backhouse, Orchard Road, Upper Poppleton, York.

Libraries remain a valuable resource, say readers.
Libraries remain a valuable resource, say readers.

CONGRATULATIONS to The Yorkshire Post on an excellent article about the role of libraries. Libraries matter more than ever, but are badly underfunded.

Despite the best efforts of local staff, I’ve noticed a decline in service standards. Books deemed “too expensive” are not purchased, even though they’d interest many people.

Budget cuts have had a horrific impact on services. The number of professional librarians has halved in the last ten years. Books are now rarely selected by qualified librarians but by book supply companies. It shows in poor quality book stocks.

A library jigsaw club in happier times before Covid lockdowns.

I regret these cuts happened through massive reductions in local government funding originating in the Conservative-led coalition and then the Conservative government.

Pressure on councils of all political persuasions has been appalling. Given a choice of cutting children’s services and risking a child protection scandal, or cutting libraries, most buckled. Unfortunately the rot has spread elsewhere.

I understand that the National Railway Museum’s excellent library now has no money for new books, hitting the many serious researchers who use their services.

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