Sunday 7 April 2013

Disney and Bookshops in Public Libraries; an exciting opportunity or a conflict?

Two quotes recently by Diana Edmonds, Head of Library operations for GLL, that really sum up for me the retail/market led agenda prevalent in public libraries;

"We need to make libraries more exciting for the next generation – they should rival Disney in terms of excitement."

"Diana was offering to explore the idea of the bookshop being housed inside Northcote Library. Boundaries would have to be recognised and respected, and a fair rent agreed, but she did not see a conflict between library and shop, they both attract booklovers."

The first one about Disney, something i wrote about recently see;, sends shivers down my spine, a public service being talked about in the same terms as the Disney corporation, it beggars belief.

The second one is more interesting because it talks of "boundaries" and "conflict", the very same issues that arise when you introduce retail models and private finance into a public service but it doesn't seem to bother Diana, who appears to see the crisis in public libraries in the same way as a young child would as it peered longingly into a sweet shop window.

GLL currently manage Greenwich and Wandsworth Libraries and it will be interesting to see what models are introduced, what boundaries are crossed and what conflicts arise?

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