Libraries could install coffee shops, book shops and film centres, under new government proposals to make them more user-friendly.Really..? ‘Out of touch’ with whom…? Does anyone wonder when Andy Burnham (or anyone in his circle of friends and advisers) last set foot in a public library?
Andy Burnham, the Secretary of State for Culture, will launch a consultation on changing the face of libraries which he believes are out of touch.
Mr Burnham will tell the Public Library Authorities conference in Liverpool libraries must "look beyond the bookcase and not sleepwalk into the era of the e-book."And that’s purely because people are afraid to go in case someone might say ‘Shuush!’, is it?
While English libraries attract 288 million visitors a year, book borrowings have fallen by 34 per cent in the past decade and 40 libraries closed across Britain last year.
Mr Burnham will say: "The popular public image of libraries as solemn and sombre places, patrolled by fearsome and formidable staff is decades out of date, but is nonetheless taken for granted by too many people."I never saw my local library (when I used it as a child and as a student) as a ‘sober and solemn place’; it was a quiet place, yes, but then it was a haven of quiet, a place to browse and read unhampered by conversation, traffic noise, canned music, disruptions – all the things that Andy Burnham seems to want to bring into this place:
He will also say: "Libraries should be a place for families and joy and chatter. The word chatter might strike fear into the heart of traditionalists but libraries should be social places that offer an antidote to the isolation of someone playing on the internet at home."‘Libraries should be a place for…chatter’…. Wow!
The disconnect there is staggering – aren’t there enough places already where you just can’t get away from other people’s noise, conversation, music? We have to put up with selfish louts listening to rap on their mobiles at top volume on the Tube and buses, now this cultural void wants to encourage it in the library as well? Sod that!
Not to mention encouraging people ‘playing on the Internet’! Now, I like a good Internet browse as much as the next person, but the thought of coming across people playing YouTube videos or giggling out loud at LolCats in my library doesn’t impress me much. Not to mention what the porn-browsers are likely to be doing…
This incarnation of Labour are the party of mindless ‘progress’ – always moving ‘forward’, yet inevitably utterly ruining what has been built by other, better people, and never quite understanding (or caring) why.
Tim Coates, the former managing director of Waterstones however criticized the potential plans.You old stick-in-the-mud, Tim. Don’t you know you must move with the times? You’re just a former shopkeeper, fancy criticising a progressive colossus like the Secretary of State for Culture!
He said: "This ought to be about getting more reading books, particularly for children, not about turning libraries into fish and chip shops."
I’m reminded, reading this, that Damilola Taylor met his end at the hands of violent, undisciplined, ‘do as you want regardless’ savages after visiting his local library to read and study quietly in his quest to learn and improve himself. This moron would like to see fewer Damilolas visiting public libraries, and more socially-incontinent types like his killers, those who can’t see why they shouldn’t listen to loud music on their mobiles, talk loudly and scream abuse if it pleases them, and to hell with anyone else.
That a man so lacking in the basics of, well, anything can be a ‘Secretary of State for Culture’ shows Nu Labour for what they are – empty suits, progressives in the debased, pejorative sense of the word. Truly, people who know the price of everything, and the value of nothing…