Friday, 11 March 2016

Public Libraries the DWP, Police and Fire services.

Well folks welcome back to the crazy world of libraries during wartime (otherwise known as austerity!).

The prospect (and reality) of basing Police officers in static libraries has been with us for some time but recently I spotted what I thought was a new 'mobile' development in Shropshire until that is I discovered this Norfolk based story from 2010 !
Now the arguments against (invasion of trusted/safe public space, privacy/spying, just another cuts based shoe-horning exercise etc) and for (better public access?!?) police officers in libraries are well rehearsed but when you then find out that we will also be sharing with fire stations and DWP 'advisers' you start to think "WTF?!?!"

I can imagine the discussion between councillors before deciding on sharing with the Fire Service;

"what are we discussing tonight?"
"library cuts"
"oh i haven't used a library in years"
"neither have I"
"what are we proposing?"
"to have a 'library presence' in our fire stations"
"ooh great idea, that'll come in handy when we burn the books"

And as for the decision to place DWP 'advisers' in libraries well all I can say is the remaining part of the community that hasn't been alienated by the Police presence and the constant shrieking of fire sirens will definitely be alienated by the threat of sanctions due to missing their appointments due to the library only being open for 5 hrs a week due to all the staff being replaced by volunteers or the 'open+' staffless library failing due to crappy library software glitches. (see recent goings on in Barnet)

But seriously folks all these decisions are purely ideological and cuts based and will seriously undermine and erode the concept of libraries as safe & trusted public spaces (please don't get me started on bloody 'Digital Eagles') For similar concerns re DWP 'advisers' being embedded in GP surgeries see;