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to expect the 4th richest nation in the world to put new books at my small library?

(22 Posts)
browniedropout Fri 13-Jul-07 08:58:29

I asked why the library doesn't have any new books for children and they said there's no money for books or staff. My friend offered them some books and they said they could sell them but there's no staff to put the books on the system, or cover them. But what really gets me, is that in Surrey the rates are huge, so why are our services so bad? The final straw for me was asking for a book for DS from another library and when it turned up, it was grimy and battered. The librarian was ashamed to offer it. It had over 25 stamps in the book. DS wouldn't read it, we didn't take it. We bought the Captain Underpants. Highly recommend, but now DS doesn't want to bother with library any more. I thought Britain is supposed to be the 4th richest nation in the world but seems we can't afford clean books for the kids. Something?s not right.

PeachesMcLean Fri 13-Jul-07 09:40:42

You're right of course. The sad thing for me though is that it's not the libraries that make books grimy, it's the people who bring them back in that condition. I remember borrowing toddler books and finding bits of food in the hard pages... Grim.

saffy202 Fri 13-Jul-07 09:47:51

Here to order a book from another library in the immediate area costs 80p. The price of books has dropped considerably in the past few years, I would rather pay the extra and buy a new book from Asda.

browniedropout Fri 13-Jul-07 09:54:00

Yes some of the time we could go out and buy the books, but DS has to be forced to read. If we take 6 he'll only find one or two he likes but sometimes he finds an author he loves and he's away. We use the library for ideas and cost of living round here is horrendous from mortgages to ballet classes! so buying 6 books just to find one he likes is out. They seem to buy adult books but not new books for children. Is it just Surrey then?

IdreamofClooney Fri 13-Jul-07 10:06:07

That is a shame brownie

The children's library here in Edinburgh is great - lots and lots of new books.

Some of the books are in very bad condition though and I've found food and worse in the pages - lovely.

I've ordered books from other libraries and it has taken ages and when I go back to remew the book as DS loved it someone had already reserved it again - get another copy for good ness sake.

i buy a lot of DS's books at charity shops - some are in really good condition for £1 or £1.50

Write to your local councillor or MP and take some action and see if you can get something done.

Reallytired Fri 13-Jul-07 14:54:39

Strange, our library service is brilliant in Hertfordshire.

MuffinMclay Fri 13-Jul-07 15:01:55

It is dire in my bit of Herts. I would dearly love to use it for myself and ds, but don't.

UnquietDad Fri 13-Jul-07 15:04:14

There seems to be no correlation between size of council tax and quality of services, sadly.

ekra Fri 13-Jul-07 15:05:55

My small local library in West Sussex is wonderful too and frequently appears to stock new children's books. Why don't you make a complaint to your local authority?

Lilymaid Fri 13-Jul-07 15:09:04

Public library funding for books, newspapers and other hard copy materials is decreasing as there is greater expenditure on online access. The Government has encouraged libraries to set up The People's Network. If you are interested in statistics, here are the most recent public library statistics. It is very easy for councils to cut book funds when short of cash.

Marina Fri 13-Jul-07 15:11:23

Libraries are not valued by local authorities and spending on them is not prioritised. There are some examples of good practice out there (generally Hertfordshire is good AFAIK, but if your branch library is a rubbish one that's not much help )
You'd think most councils despise libraries and the people who work in them IMO, and by extension, quite possibly the "losers" who value and use libraries.
On my librarianship course 20 years ago seven people out of 30 wanted to work in public libraries because they felt passionate about them. I think only one person is still in the sector. I got out nine years ago and have seen the service I formerly worked in whittled down, and down, every year - except in terms of opening hours, where fewer staff are expected to provide longer hours. Oh, and DVDs. They've bought loads of those because you can make the librarians charge for that service. You are of course not allowed to charge people for borrowing books.

Marina Fri 13-Jul-07 15:12:24

Don't get me started on the People's Network lilymaid . Bums on seats, at what cost to the book fund

browniedropout Fri 13-Jul-07 15:40:24

Helpful to know this stuff before I go and complain. I put this thread elsewhere on MN before finding right place, so I now know Redhill SY, Edinburgh and bits of W sussex are ok, but Herts, little libraries in Surrey and Hamps are bare. Off to pick up now, but will check later to see which other bits of GB (4th richest nation!) are doing.

tombley Fri 13-Jul-07 15:46:01

Our children's library only opens 3.30pm - 5pm on weekdays and 9am - 1pm on a Saturday.
Is this usual?
I know children are in school until 3.30pm but what about the under 5's?

IdreamofClooney Fri 13-Jul-07 16:33:10

The children's library in Edinburgh has two late night openings a week so I can take DS after I collect him from nursery as it is open till 8 I think, and it is open on saturday mornings.

I have rarely even seen one other child in there on the occassions I've been so DS gets to play with all of the toys and draw pictures and choose books - is fab, have no idea why it is not totally hooching. It is not far from the museum which is always over flowing with children, perhpas not many people know it is there?

Reallytired Fri 13-Jul-07 16:39:00

Our libary is open from 9am to 8pm Monday to Friday, On Saturday its open between 9am and 4pm and on Sunday its open from 1pm to 5.15pm.

Our library is brilliant.

Reallytired Fri 13-Jul-07 16:40:14

Herts librarys aren't bare at all. For children you can order books for free if they are in the county catalog.

MuffinMclay Fri 13-Jul-07 17:04:42

I think the Herts libraries must vary hugely from place to place. Ours is grubby, cramped, sparsely stocked, and very uninviting. I once did a rough count of the picture books (there weren't many so it didn't take long), and over half were in languages other than English; I don't have a problem with that, except that we are in a very white middle class area of Herts, where non-English speakers are few and far between. And such books as there are were grubby and falling apart.

It makes me feel very sad indeed for ds and his generation. I loved going to the library as a child, and discovering new authors and areas of interest, and feel that this opportunity isn't available to everyone anymore.

I have come across very good libraries in south London, Oxford, and Manchester (and worked in one there for a year or so), but don't know how these are faring now.

harpsichordcuddler Fri 13-Jul-07 17:11:56

our library is great, tbh. (Oxfordshire)
It makes me enormously sad to think that libraries are undervalued and underfunded. It is where I got my education and they are a tremendous way into knowledge for people who don't otherwise have access.

browniedropout Fri 13-Jul-07 18:38:33

ok, sorry posted in haste. So some Herts good some grubby. The shelves are full at the library I can walk to but what I'm upset about is the quality: old grubby torn covers and pages. Unappealing to DS and moi. DS's school library not great, and imp he dose not stop reading - I know.

browniedropout Fri 13-Jul-07 18:40:07

oops also posted in haste with speeelliing mastick does. but let's not get hung up about grammer pleeeease.

Reallytired Sun 15-Jul-07 23:24:07

"I think the Herts libraries must vary hugely from place to place"

You can order the books that you want and reservations for kis are free.

You have access to EXACTLY the same books that I have.

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