A Manifesto for Libraries

A Manifesto for Libraries

Recent publication of BBC shows dramatic decrease in the number libraries and librarians across UK. The BBC has compiled data from 207 authorities responsible for running libraries through the Freedom of Information Act. The survey revealed that between 2010 and today number of council-run libraries dropped from 4290 to 3765. In some areas: Sefton in Merseyside; Brent in north London, Stoke-on-Trent and Sunderland, more than half the libraries have closed since 2010, either buildings, mobile or both. Next 111 are proposed to close in next year.

The number of paid staff has dropped by 25%: almost 8000 jobs have been cut, while the number of volunteers doubled. Glasgow area has not suffer severely from libraries closures, however jobs dropped mean dropped by 20%. Fife Council will replace librarians with library assistants. Falkirk Council agreed the removal of the centralised school library service and a 50% reduction of the number of school librarians. The Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals in Scotland described school libraries as “standing on the edge of a cliff”. Alan Gibbons said the public library service faced the “greatest crisis in its history.”

Are libraries worth saving? Libraries are an essential part of communities, as they not only raise the level of reading and literacy, but also offer free services in variety of areas:  work on digital inclusion, support health services, job seeking, mental health – the broad of services answers for all community needs. Closing libraries is taking away from communities’ free help, free support and free development opportunity and is a fine way to keep the poor powerless (Independent, 2016). Libraries are a safe places, welcoming everyone, without questions about background, race, nationality and believes. “They are the last democratic free space we have. You don’t have to have any money, it doesn’t matter where you come from, what age you are, what you believe in. None of that is asked or relevant. You can still walk into this space and use it like everybody else can,” says Philippa Cochrane, head of reader development at the Scottish Book Trust.

To save libraries, while many of institutions struggle today both with risk of closing as well with deep budget cuts, which impacts on opening hours, qualified staff, offered services and collection development, the advocacy is necessary to widen the awareness about significance of library services.  National and local campaigns working forward to give an access to quality knowledge, learning and reading for all public members today and in the future. CILIPS launched campaign ‘Scotland’s Libraries: Inspiration for the Nation’, aims to emphasize Scotland’s libraries role in improving wellbeing and health of society and preserving the culture of the nation. One of campaign’s activities is A Manifesto for Libraries, targeted to candidates standing for election to ensure support for development of libraries in next Parliament. Keep Fife’s Libraries Open is a petition against closure of 16 libraries by Fife Council. My Library by Right is campaign showing access to library aim to promote the importance of the library as a statutory human right.

One of Manifesto question asks election candidates: When did you last visit your local library? and this is the question for ourselves as well before we will need to ask: What will I do to save my local library?


More information about campaigns can be found on websites:







BBC (2016) Libraries lose a quarter of staff as hundreds close, Available: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-35707956, [Last Access: 1st of April 2016].

CILIP (2016) My Library by Right, Available: http://www.cilip.org.uk/advocacy-campaigns-awards/advocacy-campaigns/my-library-right, [Last Access: 1st of April 2016].

CILIPS (2016a) Local authority proposals and consultations on changes to library services, Available:  http://www.cilips.org.uk/local-authority-proposals/, [Last Access: 1st of April 2016].

CILIPS (2016b) Scotland’s Libraries: Inspiration for the Nation, Available: http://www.cilips.org.uk/election-campaign/, [Last Access: 1st of April 2016].

CILIPS (2016c) A manifesto for Libraries, Available: http://www.cilips.org.uk/a-manifesto-for-libraries/, [Last Access: 1st of April 2016].

Fife (2016) Keep Fife’s Libraries Open, Available: https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/keep-fife-s-libraries-open, [Last Access: 1st of April 2016].

Independent (2016) Closing libraries is a fine way to keep the poor powerless, Available:  http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/closing-libraries-is-a-fine-way-to-keep-the-poor-powerless-a6958631.html, [Last Access: 1st of April 2016].

Scotsman (2016) Dani Garavelli: Why libraries are worth saving, Available: http://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/culture/books/dani-garavelli-why-libraries-are-worth-saving-1-3955018#ixzz44ZjJch9r, [Last Access: 1st of April 2016].