OK, a little plea for assistance this morning. I don’t often drag the day-job onto VCTB, but I want to do some research that only a forum of this type will allow me. Please spare a few minutes to leave your thoughts, no matter how brief and critical they may be.
So, I work in a library. UK public libraries, if you follow the news about them (which I expect you probably don’t), are not in a great place right now – borrowing is falling, buildings (and in some cases entire regional services) are being shut down, and the level of rhetoric and bluster from politicians and overpaid consultants seems to be in inverse proportionality to the amount of things actually being done to change the situation.
Over the last week we’ve been doing a survey of library users – I’ll leave my thoughts on the methodology employed to the side, as I’m not a sociologist (or indeed a ‘proper’ librarian). The survey is designed to uncover people’s ‘satisfaction levels’ with the service we provide. Which is all well and good, but it strikes me as intrinsically limited in that it only covers people who actually come into the building.
I assume that most regular visitors to VCTB are regular readers of books, of whatever type. What I want to find out is what people who are passionate about books (to the extent that they read websites about books) think of the modern library service, as they have experienced it. So I’d like to ask you all a few questions:
- Do you use your local library, or any national libraries (eg British Library)?
- If you do use libraries, how often and what for? What do you feel would make your local library even better than it already is, as far as fulfilling your own personal needs is concerned?
- If you don’t use libraries, why not? (Don’t be afraid to be seriously critical here, I want to know the truth – do the buildings suck, are the staff rubbish, do they never have what you want, do you prefer to buy your own books?)
- What do you feel libraries represent? Or to put it another way: what is the prime function of a library, in your opinion?
- What would you like to see change in the way library services are provided for you?
Don’t feel you have to answer all of the questions, and if you have something else to say about libraries that isn’t covered by them, just pitch on in. If you could give me some idea of how much you read from week to week, that would be useful too. If you don’t want to comment for all the world to see, please feel free to drop me an email at info[squiggly-symbol]velcro-city.co.uk.
If you have a blog of your own, please ask your readers to pop by and comment too – I’m thinking from a UK perspective, but international information would be useful too, so feel free to pitch in from any country at all. Negative critical comments are more than welcome – that is, in fact, exactly what I’m after.
Thanks for your time!