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Amazon Signs Up Authors, Writing Publishers Out of Deal

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@Carol Haynes: As a "pretext" for what, exactly? I don't quite understand. Do you mean to say the pretext is for the Libraries Transformation Project? (Or perhaps a more accurately renamed Libraries Rationalisation Project.)

Is that project defined somewhere as being the implementation of a stated government national policy for the rationalisation/consolidation of libraries or for cultural "transformation" by that means?
If several/all councils are doing it, then it sure looks like it could be a co-ordinated strategy - i.e., not just/only a cost-saving tactic by each locality.
Are you able to suppose as to why there might be a concealment of this by euphemistically calling it "a cost-saving tactic"?

Messing around with libraries would arguably be unlikely to usefully "transform" libraries per se, but it probably would be likely to transform the culture of those localities where the libraries have been removed.
That would be because it would directly change (reduce?) the people's right and ease of access to so many things previously taken for granted and as funded (your point) by the people in those communities - e.g., including media such as CDs, DVDs, microfiche, books/literature, magazines, informational pamphlets - all containing information and knowledge and even related to the co-ordination of local cultural events.

These would be things that otherwise normally might all have been accessed/distributed through the local library facility. And what of the travelling libraries that I recall being so useful in outlying small villages in the UK?
It will leave a vacuum.

Are you aware of there being any stated or mooted intention to fill the vacuum caused by the closing-down of local libraries? e.g., (say) the institution of local "cultural reading rooms" funded by local religious groups and/or by local employers/corporations or by the EU Commission on Libraries (if such a thing exists)?
That could be interesting, and certainly potentially transformational for the local culture(s). Maybe that is the long-term intent? Cultural re-engineering?

In any event, if you implement the project at a local level in each and every council's domain, then wouldn't that directly imply a potential nation-wide cultural transformation?
So, if the project was being progressively applied across all localities, then it brings us back to the question I asked above:
Is that project defined somewhere as being the implementation of a stated government national policy for the rationalisation/consolidation of libraries or for cultural "transformation"?

--- End quote ---

Carol Haynes:
My personal feeling is that libraries are a public service that is paid for by and largely wanted by the public - even those who don't use it that often see the usefulness and need for a public library system.

Consolidating library services in a single or a couple of locations is a bit like the consolidation of medical services that means you have all the services concentrated in one location where the majority don't have realistic access. Currently I have to drive 25 miles to my nearest hospital - but if local health managers get their way that hospital will close and health care will be consolidated in a town involving over 100 miles round trip - doesn't do much for the chances of heart attack victims in my area - plus we only have on ambulance in the vicinity and it will likely take the whole day to deal with one incident leaving the largest medical practice area in the country uncovered!

I don't think there is a national coordinated approach to closing libraries but there is a demand from central governments to reduce the cost of local government. My local district council are currently battling to reduce their budget by 33% because of pressure from national government, and the national park I live in has had its budget cut by over 25%.

Unfortunately the only areas of budget they can cut are the non-statutory ones and generally that seems to mean non-statutory education facilities such as libraries, museums and out of school classes, public sports facilities and care for the disabled, sick and elderly that goes beyond the minimum statutory requirement.

Libraries are simply seen as a soft target.

My argument is that if the local library is being closed without the consent of the people who paid for it, and currently there doesn't seem to be any way locals can persuade their councils to reconsider, they should at least have the right to take it over rather than allowing the whole lot to be chucked on a bonfire (which is what I suspect happens now) and the building being sold to the highest bidder.

@Carol Haynes: Blimey. That all doesn't sound too good to me.
So it sounds as though - from what you said - that it is simple cost-reduction or cost-containment that is driving things, and, yes, the provision of library services would be viewed as a non-essential service. But then other services - such as healthcare, for example - are being moved away too.

So, the provision of non-statutory healthcare and non-essential services are being progressively rationalised and centralised to points in or near relatively high-density population centres.
That is probably likely to encourage a human migration out of the small towns/villages to the nearest city. They could become ghost towns/villages over time.

I think your reasoning to put the residual library facilities back into local hands sounds good, but I suspect that it's financially not an option.
So it's sell the property and throw the books away.
Giving the books to 2nd hand bookstores could seem like a good idea. Is there any proof that all the books are chucked on a bonfire like that? What a sad reflection on a country's culture if that happens.
Have any communities succeeded in getting organised and managing to take on the local authority and retain their libraries in some shape or form?

Speaking of Elsevier (which we were): 1000 scientists and counting boycott Elsevier journal publishing

This is kinda relevant (I think) and rather interesting - if not hopeful: Temple U. Project Ditches Textbooks for Homemade Digital Alternatives


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