Securing the future of our libraries is to be applauded

At times when money is tight, libraries are often among the first casualties of cutbacks.

Tuesday, 13th September 2016, 6:13 am
Updated Tuesday, 13th September 2016, 9:43 am

That has proved to be the case during these recent years of so-called austerity.

They are an easy target for local authorities looking to cut costs because they are hardly frontline services in terms of providing essential day-to-day necessities.

But they do offer so much more.

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We may have a world of information at our fingertips via the internet these days, but an ‘old-fashioned’ version in the form of the printed page is not all libraries offer.

Libraries provide an encouraging environment for learning and education away from the classroom. And not just in the books on the shelves – these days they host workshops, drop-in groups and sessions for the very young. They have very much become communal spaces that are vital to the communities they serve.

And of course they offer food for the mind. Not everyone can afford to buy a new book every time they want to read a novel – a library card offers a gateway into a world of escapism and knowledge.

One has to ask though, if the landscaping service can be run as efficiently in-house, why have we been paying out nearly £250,000 a year for it?

If there is a common complaint about councils, it is that they are wasteful with cash when times are good.

It would be nice to think that local authorities are always careful with contracts.

They will naturally tell us they are, but history has suggested otherwise.

Councils creating ‘efficiencies’ is often a terrible euphemism for cutting jobs.

But in this instance, though, there is some cause to be happy if it means securing our libraries’ future.