I sometimes read “library dystopian” blogs. That is, people who blog about the end of librarianism (books, reference work, libraries etc), and I get really cross.
I came late to Librarianship. I had a career in design and print for 26 years before I needed a change, and chose librarianship.
I get cross on so many levels, when I read blogs/articles about the death of libraries. Yes, its happening to a large proportion of UK and US libraries. How can people be so stupid? I get indignant – why did those in the profession not stop it – did they not see the warning signs?
I have lots of family in the UK. A cousin tells me that they cut the acquisitions budget for Southend, Essex, Libraries for a number of years. As they weren’t renewing stock, books on shelves got older, customers stopped visiting. Then “they” chose the falling numbers of customers, to defend closing half of Southend’s Libraries.
How sad. This is a similar tale throughout the UK. Reducing budget leads to less footfall which leads to library closures.
Did my UK colleagues not protest quick enough? How can business people not realise that lack of investment leads to reduced usefulness of a service?
I don’t believe that libraries competition is technology (e-books, the internet etc) – history demonstrates that librarians and libraries are extremely good at adapting to customers needs. I think it is budget-creators who think that we can continually make do with less that are responsible.
I’m passionate about what I do. My family and I have also made huge commitments and sacrifice so I can study (personal back-story here), and also work in this industry. Selfishly, I’m concerned our sacrifice means nothing.
I worry that we may follow overseas trends – but really hope that New Zealand will learn from the mistakes that the UK and US have already made. After all, what will they do when the libraries have gone?
Inconceivable to me.