Libraries 'Losing Their Place in Our Lives' as Lending Falls 25%
Milmo, Cahal, The Independent (London, England)
PUBLIC LIBRARIES are being abandoned by readers in a crisis of confidence that has seen loans drop by 25 per cent in a decade and book spending fall by a third, a government report said yesterday.
The Audit Commission found that the arrival of the internet and a boom in bookshop sales means libraries are "losing their place in people's lives" by no longer offering a service for all.
The study of the 3,930 council-run libraries in England and Wales also discovered that local authorities can provide new hi-tech equipment but struggle to maintain library buildings.
More than half of councils have libraries in buildings too old or in disrepair and often located in areas where there is no longer sufficient demand.
The commission, the watchdog for public spending, said that while libraries were still a popular resource, with 290 million visits a year, they were in danger of becoming a ghetto for the poor.
Rather than serving as a focus for community activities and information, libraries would serve as a resource for those who could not afford to buy books.
It pointed to the success of bookshops in increasing sales by 25 per cent in the past decade while library visits had fallen …
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Publication information: Article title: Libraries 'Losing Their Place in Our Lives' as Lending Falls 25%. Contributors: Milmo, Cahal - Author. Newspaper title: The Independent (London, England). Publication date: May 17, 2002. Page number: 6. © 2009 The Independent - London. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.
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