Hello! I don’t normally get that involved in politics threads, but this is something I’ve been trying to work out in my own head, and I’m interested in other people’s opinions.
I think libraries are a very important public service, and should be paid for by the state. I am alarmed by the massive cuts to the library service (particularly in my childhood county of Gloucestershire), and think that they will really affect loads of people, particularly affecting the literacy of young children from poorer families. I visit my local library every three weeks and really love going there, it’s always packed.
However, I do understand that EVERYTHING is being ruthlessly cut, and that in terms of basic stuff people need, libraries are lower down the priority list for saving compared to say healthcare, or disability benefits, etc etc, so it’s likely that many libraries are going to close, despite protests.
My dilemma is this: if my local library was threatened with closure, and the staff were cut, would I volunteer to keep it open?
Pros – I could afford to do this for about three hours a week, it would mean a valuable service could continue for local people, it would probably be fun and I’d meet new people
Cons – I don’t believe in the ‘Big Society’, and if I did volunteer I’d be supporting Cameron’s stupid assertion that it’s ok to fire people with Masters degrees and get untrained, inefficient volunteers to run services.
What would you do? Is the Big Society going to be staffed not by willing volunteers who’ve always wanted to have a go at running a library (which is the image which seems to be promoted by the Conservatives), but by angry people who don’t want to see the destruction of local services?