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I have just read Claire Kober's article on Haringey libraries. On the face of it this seems good news for old fashioned, dyed-in-the-wool book lovers like myself, Far from axing libraries in a bid to cut off reader's noses to spite the coalition government's face(1), Haringey is expanding their use. Astonishingly, it seems that Haringey libraries already generate a profit of over £4million per annum. I guess it comes from all those video rentals. 

According to this Haringey piece Wood Green library is the 9th busiest in England by visitor numbers. This website has an analysis of busy-ness as measured by books issued .

Haringey is proposing to consult on a cultural strategy and libraries seem to play a part in that, which again seems like good news for libraries.

But I do have some nagging doubts. If libraries are to become "community hubs" and to make a profit, then where will we put the books - Crouch End's library in Haringey Park does still have a small area set aside for these anachronisms, but much more space for internet terminals and videos. The local history section has been replaced by an "Unlibrary"! Its all very well having 65,000 visits a month to Wood Green library, but are we sure that the original purpose of the library has not been lost.

What happens when librarians become "community hub liaison and facilitation directors"?   Evolution is a wonderful thing, provided that the mutation is actually more fit for its purpose.





(1) Sorry about the convoluted "axing libraries" coinage but I'm enjoying the image I've conjured to go with it.

Tags: books, community, crouch, crouchend, discussion, end, haringey, hornsey, hub, library, More…london, n8, news, views

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