Reasons for libraries: False economy

 

  • There’s always other savings that can be made other than x – especially senior local government pay (the Mail has stories on this most days), making services more efficient (see the Future Libraries Programme), closing down unnecessary expenditure elsewhere (glossy council newsletters are often favourite examples), cutting down on a prestige project (such as a multi-million pound HQ or car park), etc.
  • Closing a library rarely saves the amount of money expected. Staff redundancy payments etc can cost almost as much as the closure saves – see this post for a list.

“I have personally had to deal with shutting down libraries. In all cases this saved far less than anticipated. Making staff redundant can cost lots in redundancy payments. In my own case the final equation was that they actually paid me more in redundancy than I would have received in the last two years of my employment. They also incurred the costs of tribunals and medical examinations. On top of that a closed library doesn’t go away. If sold the profit goes into the estates department, if unsold the library service has to continue maintaining it and there’s no budget for it.” Ian Stringer

“Libraries are a soft target for local authorities because they aren’t seen to be as vital as some other services. But for many people, especially young families, the unemployed and the elderly, who often can’t afford to buy books or travel easily to main libraries, the loss of a branch library would impoverish their quality of life.”(Martyn Bedford, Bradford)

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