YP Comment: Making the most of libraries

LIKE post offices and banks, libraries are another essential service where the level of branch closures is beginning to have significant social repercussions for local communities.

Yet, while the usage of some facilities does not justify the running costs, closure proposals should only be a last resort – even more so after the Carnegie UK Trust revealed that it is younger people aged between 15 and 24 years who are making the most use of libraries.

Evidence that libraries still have a key role to play in the digital age when so much information is readily available on mobile devices and their like, the social value of these community assets must not be under-estimated.

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However there’s no reason why these public buildings cannot be better utilised – whether it be rental income from coffee shop franchises that might, in turn, attract new users of library 
services to banks being able to offer basic services in those areas which are 
being left bereft of local branches following the latest wave of cuts being implemented to the consternation of campaigners like South Yorkshire MP John Healey.

By becoming one-stop shops where necessary, there’s a greater likelihood that there will be another chapter in the history of the library service.