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Friday, 17 November 2017

A SHAMEFUL LIBRARY STORY - READ IT & WEEP

Here's an item from the latest Private Eye magazine;

"While university and literature festival bigwigs celebrated Manchester joining cities such as Barcelona and Dublin on Unesco's worldwide Creative Cities network as a City of Literature, many Mancunian readers have been left scratching their heads. Over the past five years the city council has cleared out wholesale the books and archive records held at Manchester's Central Library. More than 200,000 books and archives have been chucked into skips, pulped or flogged off by Lancashire-based firm Revival Books, which sells them online via Amazon and eBay. Campaigners - who called it 'cultural vandalism' - were particularly alarmed to learn that no record has been kept of the books and archives that have been junked, pulped or sold by Revival Books, which has the contract to run the Central Library on behalf of the council."

The item goes on to say that plans by city chiefs to shut 6 branch libraries in 2013 were halted following a public outcry and in neighbouring Bury, part of Greater manchester, 10 libraries are for the chop.

I read that and weep.

Then I think about other cities and towns, central and branch libraries across the UK either already closed or on the chopping block, and the hundreds of thousands of books and archives that have been lost forever, and I weep again.

The Private Eye item concluded by saying that Manchester council tweeted in search of ideas for what to do with its former library buildings to improve communities and they received dozens of replies suggesting some kind of well-supplied public study space offering book lending and computer access would be welcome.

Still weeping.

Council members, hang your heads in shame. Future generations, I can only apologise on behalf of the shortsightedness and stupidity committed by members of my generation.

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