Centralisation – It’s The Name of The Game!

The Mayor of London should take control of all the capital’s libraries in a move that would save millions and transform the service, the former head of Waterstones said today.

I thought the current buzzword was ‘Localism’?

Maybe he has a point, though:

The duplication of administrationcosts £80million a year out of the £200million spent on the capital’s 380 libraries, he claimed.Mr Coates is working with the New York public library service which covers the entire city. “It’s so much better,” he said. “It’s just exciting to talk to them. They’re really clever about what they’re doing.”

Expect a lot of opposition from the various council’s public sector library staff if this ever gains traction, though:

If we leave it to local councils, they will bicker until the end of time. It’s time somebody got a grip,” he said.

It is. It is indeed.

What say you, Orphans reader?

9 comments for “Centralisation – It’s The Name of The Game!

  1. March 3, 2012 at 8:28 am

    Two words; ‘turkeys’ and ‘christmas’.

    • March 3, 2012 at 10:29 am

      Oh, absolutely!

  2. March 3, 2012 at 11:09 am

    “They’re really clever about what they’re doing.”

    Sounds like quite a stumbling-block to me.

  3. nisakiman
    March 3, 2012 at 4:51 pm

    I would suggest that the “cleverness” of the New York administration could be called into question. “Authoritarian” certainly, but that’s not necessarily “clever”.

  4. nemesis
    March 3, 2012 at 7:14 pm

    I think we have to re-examine what libraries are for in the first place. Introduced by philanthropists when books were rare and expensive things, books are now plentiful and very cheap, infact I found plenty of good hardbacks thrown in a skip after the village fair! I read (I think on IEA site) that it costs approx £3 for every time a book is loaned from the library. Sure they have diversified – mainly into CDs, videos etc but you have to ask what impact this has on local businesses that trade in these things.
    I am not claiming that libraries should necessarily close but decide what they are for.

    • March 4, 2012 at 9:00 am

      Their ‘diversification’ has driven out a lot of their traditional audience and encouraged a more, ummm, ‘modern’ type.

  5. Dave_G
    March 3, 2012 at 10:07 pm

    How much to give everyone a simple ebook reader (one that, say, holds just FOUR books and cannot be expanded) and make all library titles available through email request or via wi-fi hotspots? Cheaper than maintaining various libraries across a city?

    If councillors can vote themselves iPads, why can’t the proles have ebook readers?

    • ivan
      March 3, 2012 at 10:29 pm

      The problem with that idea is that not all books are available as e-books so you would still need libraries for those that aren’t.

      There is a system of library lending of e-books available on most e-readers, it just needs the server to be set up by the library authority.

      • March 4, 2012 at 9:01 am

        They are gradually republishing older titles, where thee’s a demand for them. Non-fiction, though, lags behind.

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