When is a library not a library?

Reported recently in the Harrowgate News  ACE’s continuing misplaced mission to mould libraries to its cultural agenda gathers apace with no less than a new undertaking to change ‘…both the public and government perception of libraries and developing them as cultural hubs and creative spaces’, which apparently are the ‘…keys to the future sustainability of libraries.’

And there’s me thinking literacy, learning, and information provision are what libraries are about!

Both Desmond Clarke and Alan Wylie make telling points regarding ACE’s approach that I fully agree with.

The difficulty is knowing how to deal with ACE. On one hand they are the official government body tasked with overseeing libraries and therefore are in a position to do a great deal of good. On the other hand they have displayed a level of ignorance and incompetence towards libraries that is not only incredibly frustrating to both librarians and campaigners but also damaging to services.

Take Envisioning the library of the future for example, which many councils have taken at face value and have used to justify the widespread use of volunteers in libraries. Rather than supporting and developing libraries, ACE has enabled councils to hoodwink communities by promoting the over-optimistic and misleading findings and presenting libraries as little more than community hubs.

As I’ve argued before the SCL Universal Offers present a far better opportunity for public libraries and is more in keeping with their core mission. It is a great pity that ACE have not seen fit to work in partnership with the SCL to adopt and promote the offers as the real key to the future sustainability of libraries.

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