Saturday, March 21, 2009

Saving public libraries in Britain

Interesting post over at The Guardian online about public libraries in Britain. Critical of the amount of $ being spent on buildings, when collections seem to be dwindling and some libraries are closing outright. Rachel Cooke writes that "expenditure on books in our libraries is below 8% of the total public library funds, and in inner London that figure is just 5.7% (across the country, councils spend just 1.6% of their funding on children's books; several councils, Hackney and Doncaster among them, spend less than 1%." Disturbing stuff! Cooke also has an interesting perspective on the Idea Store (having not yet visited one, I can't say if she got an accurate picture, but it's certainly not the picture painted at conference sessions I went to about Idea Stores! They neglected to mention the waifish book collection!)

Fun stat: "1.5 million visits to Norfolk and Norwich Millennium library last year makes it the UK's busiest library." I'll be putting that one on my list for December.

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