Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Save Barnet's libraries - sign the petition today (and tomorrow)!

The official consultation for the libraries strategic review closes on 17th December. Councillor Robert Rams who is coordinating the move to cut Barnet's library provision has rather hastily said that he hasn't received any petitions on the issue.

In fact, the petition coordinated by Roger Tichborne of the Barnet Eye blog is still going strong. Like a snowball picking up speed as it rolls down a hill, it is gaining momentum till the last. You can still sign the petition online at

Roger has invited Robert Rams to meet him tomorrow evening (Thursday) to receive the petition at the Adam and Eve pub in Mill Hill at 10pm (sounds like a date!). I imagine anyone going into the pub on the night can also sign the paper version of the petition. So, there's just over 24 hours to spread the word!

The petition has several thousand signatures already: let's add to that with one last push! Save Barnet's libraries!


David Duff said...

"Save Barnet's libraries"


How many people, as a percentage of the inhabitants of Barnet, actually use the library?

The vast majority, I suspect, have access to Google so who needs libraries.

And books have never been cheaper.

Johnny on the Web said...

David, 1,577,240 books were borrowed last year. There are 186,000 members; it is the second busiest library service in London and one of the most efficient. They visit libraries for a number of reasons, from internet use and information, skills development, community activities, as well as borrowing books.In Barnet we have bucked the national trend of declining library usage with usagein Barnet up 11% in 2009/10.
That is exactly why it should be saved - people want it, people use it and it is provided in an efficient manner. Do us all a favour, visit your local branch, see how loved and valued this service is and then sign the petition.

vickim57 said...


Barnet's libraries are successful: "...the second busiest library service in London with almost 2.7m visits in 2009–2010; and one of the most efficient, with our cost per visit of c.£2.38 well below the London average of £3.50." [these are Barnet's own figures]

Would anyone be proposing to cut the service if the government weren't simply determined to... cut services? I doubt it.

I'm guessing your comments are framed to be provocative. Google to replace books? Don't be a dodo!

Books have never been cheaper - yeah, the mass market sort you buy in supermarkets. Don't get me wrong, these have their place, but they can't replace all the rest and won't any time soon.

DD, I suspect that you yourself have read the odd book, some pretty juicy tomes, to judge by the purple prose in some of your blogposts.

vickim57 said...

Two minds with but a single thought, and finishing their dinner at about the same time!

I'm off now to watch Newsnight! How about you?


Rog T said...

Save Barnets Libraries !


I'd suggest that David Duff leave his ivory tower and visit one. There he will find the answer to his question. Some people clearly have no concept of community and I find that fact rather sad.

David Duff said...

Apologies! My comment was shot from the hip so allow me this time to put it more carefully.

Does Barnet Library Service pay its way? By that I mean, does it rely on taxes, or subsidies (e.g., does it pay full rent and rates on its properties, etc?) in order to keep running?

If it does then the remaining people in Barnet who are not members, and I suspect they far outnumber them, should be asked if they approve of being taxed so that others may enjoy services which are perfectly well provided in the High Street.

Please understand that I am not against the notion of a library business where borrowers of 'pulp fiction' (of which I am an avid devourer) would in effect subsidise the borrowers of more esoteric volumes. If you can make it pay, good luck; if not, goodbye!

The notion, popularly held, that the majority should forever support the activities of the minority is a nonsense. No-one supports my favourite local lap-dancing club!

Johnny on the Web said...

Mr Duff, the arguments you put forward are very similar to those voiced by the Conservatives in 1850 when the Public Libraries Act was introduced. It is a shame that 160 years later the conservative argument doesn't seem to have moved on.

David Duff said...

But Johny, the not-the-Tory party has moved on and what were shrewd arguments based on sound principles 160 years ago have long ago been ditched overboard. That is but one of the reasons why I am not a Tory.

Mrs Angry said...

David Duff, er, your argument is I am afraid, well, rather duff: if you do not have have children,for example, do you object to the substantial proportion of your council tax that goes towards maintaining schools?

As for your comment that books have never been cheaper, I would remind you that not everyone enjoys the comfortable lifestyle that you seem to imagine.

I would suggest that you put aside the pulp fiction, forego the lap dancing, and nip down to your local library for a more edifying cultural experience.

David Duff said...

Mrs. Angry, I do "pop down to my local library", I'm not a mug! If there is a tax-payer subsidised service to hand then I'll use it - not least because I pay tax! That, of course, does not make it right that workers on very moderate incomes and large families to support have to be taxed to help others to a service most of them could afford to buy elsewhere.

Actually one of my favourite sources for books are the myriad number of charity shops - I bought three cracking examples of 'pulp fiction' plus an excellent history book only lst week - for £6 the lot!

Now about my lap-dancing club, my subscription's due next month and I don't suppose you could see you way clear to lending me . . . take that as 'no', shall I? And I thought socialists were always trying to help OAPs!

Rog T said...

Dear Mr Duff

Deary me, you haven't thought this thru have you? I don't use the mayoral limo, I don't get invited to civic buffets, I don't go to the South of France or the USA first class on council funded jollies. I do however pay for all of these things through my tax.

I also don't use social services, support for people with brain injuries, or any of the other services which are getting chopped in the cuts to childrens and adult services.

We pay tax to have a decent infrastructure if we need it. Libraries assist with education of young people which has immense benefit way beyond your narrow view.

David Duff said...

To paraphrase, Rog, 'We pay tax to have a decent infrastructure if we need it. Lap dancing clubs assist with education of old people which has immense benefit way beyond your narrow view.'

So if at my expense you can sit in a heated library and read Dan Brown/Karl Marx (delete as necessary) why can't I have my subscription on the council tax?

vickim57 said...

DD, if everything was about individual consumption... we wouldn't have anything. We get together to procure (and consume) things that make life civilised.

Libraries have expertise and knowledge about what books are available that we as individuals can't hope to have; they provide scope for browsing - far more widely than bookshops do.

In your and Robert Rams' vision of the future we will buy some mass market paperbacks because that's all they stock (and they are not cheap) from a supermarket, read them once, and then they will sit on a shelf cluttering up our homes, or go for recycling or, at best, to the charity shop (which will struggle to flog them).

In a library, because people can borrow and take them back many more people get the use out of a book.

Comparing your need to look at naked people to your need for education and intellectual development is daft. You're right, you can satisfy the first need very easily by browsing on the web, but not the second.

Rog T said...

Dear Mr Duff,

Maybe you need to pay a fortune at a rip off lap dancing venue to educate yourself in the ways of the world.

I'd change your aftershave mate, you might have to pay a bit less in future. Most of us learn these things for free

Mrs Angry said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mrs Angry said...

Can we remind people that libraries provide not just popular fiction but are a vital and indeed unique source of material which is out of print and impossible to access elsewhere, through the inter library loan system: students and others rely on this system for their research, and this is just one service which is only offered by the public libray system.