Library Closures in the UK

You might know that in Fife there has been a campaign to keep libraries open, sixteen of them were singled out for the axe. The campaign has failed as although the closures have been postponed it’s only for a short time. One library might have a future but it is all very much pie in the sky at the moment with councillors suggesting that the library could move to a nearby high school. That’s a suggestion that seems to pop up frequently but I can’t see how that can work as schools are not the sort of places that should be open to random people walking off the street into them. The library access could end up being a honey pot for weirdos intent on getting a hold of youngsters for nefarious purposes.

Anyway, it’s a problem over the whole country and not only in the UK. You can read about the occupation of the Carnegie Library in Lambeth here.

Apparently the coucil in Lambeth plan to change the library building into a gym, with a few shelves of books in it, but there will be no librarians on the premises. The books are obviously just a sop to local readers and will be of very little use. Some readers have occupied the building. According to the BBC 350 libraries have closed recently in the UK and 8,000 library jobs have been lost. Andrew Carnegie will be birling in his grave, so if you’re in the vicinity of Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Tarrytown – that’s what the funny noise is! Honestly, that’s where he is buried, he was in the US when he died, so no Skibo Castle resting place for him. It’s such a pity that he didn’t stipulate that the buildings he donated for libraries must not be used for any other purposes – or maybe he did and they are just ignoring his wishes.

The libraries in Fife are trying all sorts to generate some income, selling bits and pieces, including coffee. But what sort of person thinks that the profit from libraries can be counted in monetary values? Surely the gains are far more important than filthy lucre.

There’s a Friends of Carnegie Library Facebook page which you can see here if you’re interested in seeing how the campaign and library occupation is going.

It enrages me that people who read are always seen as being of no importance compared with others. Why is it seen as being necessary to have a gym in the area? We all know what happens in gyms – some people join in enthusiastically for a few weeks and then never darken the door again. It’s simpler to get fit on your own, just eat less and move more – walk.

I noticed that in the Glenrothes area of Fife the council workers are busy building cycle paths, no doubt at great expense, I’d really like to know how much it’s all costing. I just wish that the library users in Fife had as much get up and go – or should I say sit down and stay – as the readers in Lambeth have.

British Library Crime Classics

I’ve recently been given a whole load of books, first by our friend Eric and then even more by Peggy from the US. I had decided that I wasn’t going to look at any books whenever we went out anywhere, just so that I could concentrate on whittling away at some of my book piles.

But there is no hope for me, just as I had said that to Jack he came up to me in a shop to give me the news that he had found two British Library Crime Classic books, of course it was the lovely 1930s covers which had attracted him. So it’s his fault entirely that I added those ones to the ever growing piles. Both of them by Mavis Doriel Hay, I don’t even recall ever hearing anything about her, but I couldn’t resist them. They are Death on the Cherwell and Murder Underground.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, in another charity shop today he spotted Mystery in White by J.Jefferson Farjeon, now I have heard only good things of this one so I couldn’t pass up the chance to buy it.

As luck would have it we were both feeling a bit under the weather over the last couple of weeks and indeed the actual weather was not helping our moods either, so we both sort of read our way out of it, whilst totally ignoring everything else. Luxury. It’s wonderful to be able to read a book in a day! So I’m fairly ploughing through the book piles.

On another bookish note, we’ve been using our local libraries a lot since moving to a more rural location last year. There are several small libraries in villages a short drive from us and we had been hoping that using those ones and pushing their lending statistics up would mean they would be safer from closure. Honestly we did our best! But there gas been an announcement to the effect that Fife Council intend to close 16 libraries! I honestly never thought that so many would be under threat.

Those small libraries are often a sort of local hub and the only place where some people can get access to a computer. Primary schools won’t be able to take the children to library visits and that means that for a lot of them they just will never see the inside of a library as their parents are either too busy to take them, or just don’t have the inclination to do so.

I feel a campaign coming on!

On a happier note, if you are in the Kirkcaldy area then do yourself a favour and get along to the library and museum where The Great Tapestry of Scotland is on exhibition. We saw it when it was at the Scottish Parliament building in Edinburgh but went again yesterday, really as we were just killing time but I think I enjoyed it even more on the second viewing. The exhibition is on until the 20th of September.