Swindon Council Leader urged to reconsider public library cuts

CILIP Chief Executive Nick Poole has written to Swindon Council Leader David Renard, urging him to reconsider the extent of the Council’s proposals – which would see 11 out of 15 libraries in Swindon close.
In his letter Nick said:

“The decision to remove a library service is far more than a spreadsheet exercise. We understand your need to find cost-savings but it is vital that you are clear about the social and economic cost both to your Authority and the people you serve.”

Nick urged the Council to consider the following points at their discussion on Wednesday 13 July:

  • Libraries make places that people want to live in – a library serves as the beating heart of a community, meeting local needs and giving your places their unique character. All evidence points to the fact that investing in local libraries improves the attractiveness of the local area, acts to reduce anti-social behavior and encourages people to live, work and pay Council Tax because they are proud of where they live;
  • Libraries make places that people want to work in – across the country, Local Authorities are working with their local libraries to support local businesses, startups and enterprise. The hugely successful pilot network of Business & IP Centres has shown how a library can stimulate innovative businesses in towns and rural areas, ultimately improving your prospects of generating increased Business Rates;
  • Libraries amplify the reach & cost-effectiveness of Council services – while the primary purpose of a library is as a place of learning and discovery, their position of trust means that they provide a unique platform for access to local services. As you look ahead to the need to protect adult social care and child protection, cutting your libraries means cutting a low-cost means for these services to reach more people.

Read open letter to Councillor Renard Swindon public libraries.

Originally published on cilip.org.uk.