YP Letters: Libraries in trouble if they can’t afford £25 book

Should libraries be run by volunteers?
Should libraries be run by volunteers?
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From: Roger Backhouse, Orchard Road, Upper Poppleton, York.

I THANK Councillor Greg White for responding to my letter (The Yorkshire Post, November 29), but I fear he puts a high gloss on a dismal picture of library services.

This newspaper (November 22) tells me that library funding in 2017-2018 fell by five per cent on top of previous cuts. The last seven years have seen the worst reduction in public library services ever known.

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An example from York shows how dire library services are. York Explore runs libraries with funds from the city council. I requested a copy of the Conservative minister Jesse Norman’s well-reviewed book about Adam Smith, the economist on the £20 note. They refused to buy it. The cost was £25, not high for a book these days. York Explore (and by default the city council) risks breaching the 1964 Public Library and Museums Act which requires provision of a “comprehensive and efficient” service.

Councillor White’s praise of volunteers is like someone deliberately crashing a yacht and then praising the lifeboat crews.

We appreciate their help, but wouldn’t it be better if the situation did not happen in the first place?

Volunteers are no substitute for properly staffed and funded libraries.