A huge loss to public library services and paid staff since 2010 was reported by the BBC last week.
The data, compiled from FOI requests, revealed that almost 8000 jobs in UK libraries have disappeared in the last six years and that 343 libraries have closed, with over 15,000 volunteers recruited to the library service.
The Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals’ (CILIP) CEO, Nick Poole, comments on the closures:
‘The statistics published by the BBC today, showing the closure of 342 UK public libraries and the loss of a quarter of paid library staff jobs since 2010, demonstrate again the damage caused by hastily implemented austerity and devolution policies without a robust strategic plan for libraries. Volunteers have always been a vibrant part of our library service, but they cannot replace the expertise, ethics and professional skills of qualified staff who are fundamental to providing the quality library services that we are entitled to by law.
Through CILIP’s My Library By Right campaign we have called for our statutory rights to quality library services to be recognised, for a robust strategic plan, and for accurate and consistent use of statistics and evidence. We welcome the publication last week of Libraries Deliver, but essential that it is properly resourced and supported. A practical action plan, sufficient budget and realistic long-term funding proposals, along with a transparent and timely approach to monitoring and reporting must be in place if it is to succeed.
Our public libraries are a vital part of the future of communities and the economy, we must ensure that they are celebrated and developed in the future.’
Find out more on CILIP’s website.