“The librarian is not simply a checkout clerk…”

Libraries are in the news again today, with leading authors speaking out in the Guardian today, criticising government cuts and proposed library closures.

Phillip Pullman showed his support for librarians, saying:

“The librarian is not simply a checkout clerk whose simple task could be done by anyone and need not be paid for,” he said. “Those who think that every expert can be replaced by a cheerful volunteer who can step in and do a complex task for nothing but a cup of tea are those who fundamentally want to see every single public service sold off, closed down, abolished.”

Further support for libraries today came from Ipsos MORI research into how the British public view libraries, which found that:

the research shows the English public widely value public libraries as a force for good and one that should be provided free. A significant proportion (74 per cent) of current users surveyed described libraries as “essential” or “very important” in their lives. Fifty-nine per cent of non users also think libraries play an “important” or “essential” role in the community.

The research also showed that, while book stock is considered important, users (including current, lapsed and non-users) consider that other services would be more likely to increase their library usage, such as children’s activities, more online services and – crucially – better information on what libraries offer.

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