Continuing on from the post below it seems that now libraries have proved, and continue to prove, that unpaid amateurs are the future of local service (whether or not they are a viable future is debatable!) it comes as no surprise that the LGA is keen for this scheme to expand. In the Telegraph Sir Merrick Cockell has outlined how museums and parks could also be run by volunteers.
To be fair local authorities are caught between a rock and a hard place with substantially less funding from central government making it increasingly difficult to fund much beyond essential services. That said, many local authorities are now cottoning on to the fact that they can no longer keep freezing council tax year on year with the large loss of income this approach represents. Also, there is some legitimate criticism about the level of reserves some councils continue to hold onto.
Ever since the Barnet Graph of Doom was mooted the future of departments outside of adult social care and children’s services have been hotly debated and contested, but not, unfortunately, well planned for. Thus, the rather ad hoc and often quite weak response by councils to library provision. Couple this with the political ideology of the Big Society and it is proving to be somewhat of a perfect storm for public libraries up and down the country.
What will be left after the storm abates remains to be seen.