Following David, I would also like to add that large libraries in the
middle of towns also provide a space for people to meet, particularly those
perhaps who do not work, but need the wider range of information resources
and support that can be provided from within a larger building.
I agree, Stephen, that we can provide distributed access to our book-stocks
seeing them as one stock with many access points (virtual ones too, of
course). However libraries also have a much wider role to play, with the
People's Network, for learning, citizenship, and commerce.
Example- our meeting room here is used by the Refugee Council as a way
station for refugees in transit, so they are able, thanks to our ICT, to use
the internet access to tell their families they are OK. I like to think we
are a much more friendly place than many.
It is also possible to work with partners such the Employment Service, and
the Information, Advice and Guidance partners offering our space for them to
Its not just books, is it?
Suffolk County Council Libraries and Heritage
E-mail [log in to unmask]
> -----Original Message-----
> From: David Murray [SMTP:[log in to unmask]]
> Sent: 30 October 2001 18:14
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: the future of the main library
> Dear colleagues
> Not an earth-shatteringly important point, perhaps, but it might be worth
> noting that one of the things that fascinates officers concerned with
> community regeneration/neighbourhood renewal/IEG agendas, and those beyond
> local government, is the extensive and all pervasive nature of the
> network. They are gripped by the realisation that there are "community
> venues" that, in theory anyway, anyone can use for a whole range of
> purposes, and that can be linked via ICT for a multitude of purposes...
> So what? Well, the fact that they have literally millions of pounds to
> allocate to "community based" partners is a bit of an incentive not to
> rationalise away one of key USPs...maybe
> David Murray
> London Libraries Development Agency
> 35 St Martin's Street
> WC2H 7HP
> t 020 7641 5266
> f 020 7641 5266
> m 07932 613807
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Steven Heywood" <[log in to unmask]>
> To: <[log in to unmask]>
> Sent: Tuesday, October 30, 2001 5:52 PM
> Subject: the future of the main library
> > While we're having ruminative questions on the list I thought I'd chuck
> > into the pool. I'm thinking aloud here and to my knowledge none of this
> > reflects anything going on where I work.
> > The recent trend nationally has been to close down small
> > libraries in favour of big "superlibraries". Is that the right way
> > these days of networked catalogues and circulation systems and on-line
> > reference materials should we be looking more at a decentralised
> > model?
> > In some respects the only reason to have a main library at all is to
> > somewhere big enough to fit a great pile of books and, in many cases,
> > habitable for support and managerial staff (or at least close enough
> > to meet the needs of the Shops Acts). Because these are the "important"
> > libraries they tend to be the ones with the greatest opening hours. They
> > also tend to be in town centres away from where people live. Meanwhile,
> > people travel home from the town centres where they tend to work, have
> > tea, go to their local small branch library and find it closed. Given
> > choice between travelling back into town to go to the library or going
> > and watching the telly a good proportion will probably do the latter.
> > So... say you're keeping a main library open for 40 hours a week with 10
> > staff (I'm keeping the sums simple) and keeping branch libraries open
> > hours a week with 2 staff, why not redeploy the main library staff so
> > you're keeping five branches open for an additional 20 hours each,
> > preferably at evenings and weekends? And get all those public library
> > standard Brownie points. Not having a big range of stock immediately on
> > shelves isn't such a big deal these days: after all, if you've got a
> > networked cataloguing/circulation system it doesn't matter where a book
> > physically lives, it's available for loan anywhere on the system. Or to
> > an example from the retailing field: how many items can you see on the
> > shelves when you go shopping at Argos? Your OPAC is your Argos
> > There are probably tons of legitimate - and less so - arguments against
> > idea, I can think of a few myself. I just thought it might be
> > poke this lemon with a stick.
> > Steven
> > Steven Heywood
> > Systems Manager
> > Rochdale Library Service
> > Wheatsheaf Library
> > Baillie Street
> > Rochdale OL16 1JZ
> > Tel: 01706 864967
> > Fax: 01706 864992
> > email: [log in to unmask]
> > Feeling glum? See
> > http://www.rochdale.gov.uk/living/libraries.asp?url=pageofun and see
> > real glum looks like!