Libraries, public, renaissance of: DDC 020.336

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brynpoeth
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Libraries, public, renaissance of: DDC 020.336

Postby brynpoeth » 4 Feb 2017, 8:03am

The central libraries in Manchester, Birmingham and elsewhere were great temples of culture, I used to use them.

As I got older I bought more books and used libraries less. I get a lot of info on the www and sniff out second-hand books to buy, I love finding an unexpected surprising book that was looking for me.

The Grauniad reports that library use has declined but library websites are very popular. Use by minorities and disabled people is higher than average.

One time I still visit a library without joining - on holiday or in a new place, to find out what is going on.

Should libraries be allowed to decline further?
Last edited by brynpoeth on 9 Dec 2018, 10:59am, edited 4 times in total.
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francovendee
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Re: Public libraries, decline of

Postby francovendee » 4 Feb 2017, 8:32am

They shouldn't but they will, partly because councils are looking to save money.
Amazingly a lot of libraries were started when we were a much poorer nation. Somehow money was found to erect often very beautiful buildings.
Progress! :roll:

brynpoeth
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Re: Public libraries, decline of

Postby brynpoeth » 4 Feb 2017, 8:38am

francovendee wrote:They shouldn't but they will, partly because councils are looking to save money.
Amazingly a lot of libraries were started when we were a much poorer nation. Somehow money was found to erect often very beautiful buildings.
Progress! :roll:


Many were founded by capitalists, for example Andrew Carnegie
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ambodach
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Re: Public libraries, decline of

Postby ambodach » 4 Feb 2017, 9:24am

Argyll and Bute council have removed all the mobile libraries bar one on Islay which is the least used in the council area. Usual A&B logic.

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Mick F
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Re: Public libraries, decline of

Postby Mick F » 4 Feb 2017, 9:39am

Personally, I think that they should close them all and the councils could spend more money on other stuff. Stuff that the people use, rather than a small minority.
It is probably 40years or more since I went into a library.

However, I do understand that they serve a purpose, even if I have no use for them.
Mick F. Cornwall

blackbike
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Re: Public libraries, decline of

Postby blackbike » 4 Feb 2017, 11:18am

I still use my local library but I'm often the only customer in the place.

Over the years it struck me that as usage declined and the number of new books available became fewer each year the number of staff on duty increased, and about ten years ago part of the floor area was partitioned off for a manager's office.

If staffing increases I suppose an on-site manager is required to manage them.

If staffing returned to the levels I can remember from the 1970s I'm sure more libraries could stay open and afford more books.

The quality of staff seems to have declined too. Often the only sound to be heard in the library is two or three staff chatting and laughing as they stand around with little to do.

Psamathe
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Re: Public libraries, decline of

Postby Psamathe » 4 Feb 2017, 11:21am

On reflecting (before responding) I was wondering what purpose Libraries are meant to serve and what purpose they actually serve. I had a Google and not a lot readily comes-up.

Are they all about lending books (from buildings or vans). Or providing free internet access (through WiFi and/or computers for public use). Or a social function, etc.

I assume they they serve a broader purpose than lending books and chasing overdue loans - but then could not readily identify what those additional purposes might be.

Seems we need to know what they are obliged to do and what they actually do in practice before being able to question their funding or alternatives. Certainly there would be far more efficient means if it's just about lending books - more centralised, big warehouse, with books being delivered/returned by post, etc. - not suggesting that is what we should be doing, just is that all they are intended to do?

Ian

brynpoeth
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Re: Public libraries, decline of

Postby brynpoeth » 4 Feb 2017, 11:31am

blackbike wrote:I still use my local library but I'm often the only customer in the place.

Over the years it struck me that as usage declined and the number of new books available became fewer each year the number of staff on duty increased, and about ten years ago part of the floor area was partitioned off for a manager's office.

If staffing increases I suppose an on-site manager is required to manage them.

If staffing returned to the levels I can remember from the 1970s I'm sure more libraries could stay open and afford more books.

The quality of staff seems to have declined too. Often the only sound to be heard in the library is two or three staff chatting and laughing as they stand around with little to do.



In Penmaenmawr library the single staff member has no one to chat to. Being there is a bit like travelling in a Rolls where the loudest sound is the ticking of the clock. In the llyfrgell cyhoeddus the loudest sound is the clicking of the mice.

I rather liked the silence of libraries back then
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NATURAL ANKLING
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Re: Public libraries, decline of

Postby NATURAL ANKLING » 4 Feb 2017, 11:53am

Hi,
It opened many years ago and cost millions but I have never been there.
Torbay Paignton library.
I struggled to find a meaningful link at all, plenty photos but maybe I missed something :?
Over 6 mil
http://www.torbay.gov.uk/libraries/find ... ary/plaic/
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Priority Is Still 500K In 24..Just Dreaming...Stay Focused Guys And Keep Sharp...
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Si
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Re: Public libraries, decline of

Postby Si » 4 Feb 2017, 12:22pm

Attacks on public libraries have always coincided with the rise of fascism. :lol:

My local libraries are a wonderful resource. Apart from all the books that id never be able to afford myself they offer lots of community services: kids reading groups, police surgeries, community info, historical records,computers fornthose who dont have them at home, etc etc.

Of course, thats not to say that they couldnt be improved and offer more services to make them more cost effective.

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Cunobelin
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Re: Public libraries, decline of

Postby Cunobelin » 4 Feb 2017, 12:34pm

Si wrote:Attacks on public libraries have always coincided with the rise of fascism. :lol:

My local libraries are a wonderful resource. Apart from all the books that id never be able to afford myself they offer lots of community services: kids reading groups, police surgeries, community info, historical records,computers fornthose who dont have them at home, etc etc.

Of course, thats not to say that they couldnt be improved and offer more services to make them more cost effective.



Our central library is a "Discovery Centre, and whilst it does all the standard functions it also holds talks, workshops, shanty evenings, try before you buy computer sessions, and all sorts of local history exhibition

Next month includes a talk by the Military Adviser on Steven Spielberg's War Horse. and how historical accuracy was maintained,

blackbike
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Re: Public libraries, decline of

Postby blackbike » 4 Feb 2017, 12:36pm

About two years ago I attended a meeting at my library which was about how to increase usage.

I suggested fewer opening hours during the day, more in the evenings, and Sunday opening. I said this would mean the library would be open during more hours when people were not at work or school.

We were told that the council's staff would be unlikely to agree to such an approach.

Adapt or die.

pete75
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Re: Public libraries, decline of

Postby pete75 » 4 Feb 2017, 1:31pm

blackbike wrote:About two years ago I attended a meeting at my library which was about how to increase usage.

I suggested fewer opening hours during the day, more in the evenings, and Sunday opening. I said this would mean the library would be open during more hours when people were not at work or school.

We were told that the council's staff would be unlikely to agree to such an approach.

Adapt or die.


Maybe what they really meant was they didn't want to pay time and a half and double time for weekend working.

mercalia
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Re: Public libraries, decline of

Postby mercalia » 4 Feb 2017, 1:48pm

Mick F wrote:Personally, I think that they should close them all and the councils could spend more money on other stuff. Stuff that the people use, rather than a small minority.
It is probably 40years or more since I went into a library.

However, I do understand that they serve a purpose, even if I have no use for them.


well might make dealing with benefits difficult for those who dont have internet at home ( I think there are still lots? ) Isnt it all now online? making claims etc.

I only ever went into my local library to borrow cds and audio books

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661-Pete
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Re: Public libraries, decline of

Postby 661-Pete » 4 Feb 2017, 3:00pm

Surely it's not hard to find a reason for this decline! One of them - which also accounts for some decline in high street bookshops - well, let's just say it begins with an A, ends with an N, and has a Z in it somewhere... :lol:

But the internet in general is another factor. Just about any book which is out of copyright (that means, in the UK, that the author must have been dead for 70 years), can be downloaded for free via online literature sites such as Gutenberg. So all the great literary classics are available to us all with a few clicks of the mouse. So much easier than hunting your way up and down rows and rows of musty shelves! Or rummaging through the card-index (as I can still remember doing). And even then not finding the book you're after, because some sloppy librarian has shelved it in the wrong section.

I used to like libraries. I wish I could say the same now - it's a great shame they're in decline.
Pete

Et qui rit des curés d'Oc?/De Meuse raines, houp! de cloques./De quelles loques ce turque coin./Et ne d'anes ni rennes,/Ecuries des curés d'Oc. - Louis d'Antin