Friday, February 24, 2017

Paper cuts

The odd overdue paperback, yes - but an estimated 25 million books missing from UK libraries?! Who are the wankers stealing them (or damaging them and refusing to confess)?

In fact, the situation may be even more severe than that. Job losses and cutbacks enforced by councils (whose hands are in turn tied by the government's austerity measures) mean that librarians rarely have the opportunity to carry out stocktakes of physical copies on shelves rather than merely running reports on computer databases, and that even when books are identified as missing, they can't always or even often be replaced.

As so often, it's a case of the government saying one thing (bleating on about the importance of the knowledge economy) and doing the exact opposite (removing rather than increasing funding and resources). The Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP) have pleaded for additional funds from the chancellor Philip Hammond - but holding your breath would not be advised.

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