As budget restraints continue to impact local government spending, there have been, and continue to be, difficult decisions made on which services will bear the brunt. It is a harsh reality that libraries have come under the microscope in many a spending review and all too often been seen as an easy target for closure. There’s hope for the sector, though if recent events are anything to go by.
At the launch of the new All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Libraries, held at the House of Lords on 31st January 2017, Rob Wilson, Civil Society Minister, spoke to the audience, which included MPs and Peers, about the impact of public spending cuts on the public library sector. His overall message was positive in relation to the future of libraries, but did not resolve the financial challenges faced by local authorities; his advice to the decision makers was: “The challenge is to think strategically about reform and service delivery and not to tinker with the service piecemeal.”
The Minister talked about his intentions for policing library closures, “Councils really need to make these decisions based on robust evidence rather than being ad hoc and reactive. They should gather the evidence on local needs and actively consult local people and local professionals on the options to meet these needs. I also expect councils to consider a full range of funding and delivery options before making significant cuts. If we receive complaints at DCMS and where councils do not appear to be meeting their statutory duties, we will investigate, and where needed we will take action under the 1964 Public Libraries and Museums Act.”
Good news for our public libraries but not really of great assistance to those in the position of balancing the figures and making sense of the budget cuts. Here at D-Tech International, we provide a number of systems to enable cost-effective library management. We understand the resource challenges, and we can help libraries to find a solution that ticks operational as well as financial boxes. For more information about our technologies and products, click on the links or give us a call on 01394 420077.