Government advisor says rural pubs and libraries should merge

By James Wallin contact

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Local government association, Public library

Could pubs double as libraries?
Could pubs double as libraries?
An expert invited by the Government to advise on the future of libraries has suggested they could be housed in pubs.

William Sieghart is chairman of the panel commissioned by the Departments for Communities and Local Government and Culture, Media and Sport to produce an independent report on England's public library service.

He is now seeking to speak to council leaders across the country about his vision, ahead of his final report to be published at the end of the year.

He is suggesting a “digital network” that would see one library card valid for facilities across the country and he claims would make unconventional locations viable.

Writing in the Local Government Association's magazine, First, said: “It could allow library services to be delivered in non-traditional library buildings such as the local pub and shop. Such provision already exists through organisations such as Pub is The Hub, and this could be extended even further to give greater provision to rural communities.”

Related topics: Legislation

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How silly can these bureaucrats get?

Posted by Hazel Robinson,

As Chair of a volunteer-run library and with a son who runs a pub, I think I have a pretty good knowledge of both kinds of institutions - which are totally incompatible. How do children get access to books in a pub? What publican can afford to use profit-making floorspace for a genuinely wide selection of books? What about public-access computers, the Summer Reading Challenge, Books on Prescription?

Volunteer-run libraries should not be necessary and are very much a last resort. However much nonsense it is to believe that most small library branches have ever been more than book-lending facilities, they are still much wanted and much used. In fact, our volunteers are better-educated and offer more activities than ever the paid staff did so library professionals also spout nonsense in asserting that there is a big change in delivery.

Bad enough that we can only have a library if we staff and fund it, even worse to have a bit of a book-swap in the back room of a pub and call it a library.

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Books swaps

Posted by Leon Bolton,

It would be erroneous to think that a simple book swap housed in a pub makes it a 'library'. It's the equivalent of claiming that because I serve a few drinks in my house to friends that I am a pub or wine bar!
Inane idea with little understanding of what constitutes modern library provision.

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Book and pubs

Posted by John Ellis,

Books and pubs can go well together - we've run a "bring and borrow" service for some years. However, this "expert"'s report raises the question of what is his expertise in pubs? What is his field of expertise in general? Has he ever been to a pub?
John Ellis
Crown Inn, Oakengates and
Elephant & Castle, Dawley

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