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Carnegie Trust report ‘seriously avoids the truth’ about UK library sector decline

In the UK, library advocates have called for a Carnegie Trust report on the future of libraries to be withdrawn for ‘seriously avoid[ing] the truth’ about the decline of the sector, reports the Guardian.

In response to the Carnegie Trust’s ‘Shining a Light’ report, leading library campaigner Tim Coates has filed a formal complaint with the charity’s trustees, claiming the report ‘fails to draw the right conclusions from data in the research it has carried out’.

The report’s five-point plan to rescue the sector, which has suffered from a series of cuts imposed on local government, includes recommendations that libraries make better use of data to improve their services, focus more on demonstrating how they help deliver government policies, and provide staff with innovation and leadership training.

Coates said the report avoids key evidence about ‘the essential, continuous and destructive decline of use in public libraries in the UK’ and neglects to highlight key findings from research undertaken on behalf of the Carnegie Trust by Ipsos Mori; fails to research the views of lapsed library users or highlight the role of leadership in the sector’s rapid decline; and overlooks annual data collated by the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy, which in December found UK libraries had taken a £25m (A$43m) hit to budgets and 15m drop in visitors as a result of cuts by local authorities.

‘What the report says is that everybody understands what a wonderful thing a library ought to be,’ said Coates. ‘But the reality is that when they visit their local library they don’t find anything in there that is any use to them. That is the problem.’


Category: Library news International