Thursday, 17 February 2011

Coastguards and libraries part 2

At last - the have admitted that they got something wrong - selling off forests. All we have gained is that they will now have to look for the money somewhere else because they are obsessed with taking the easy route out.
Why is it the easy route - because they are taking money away from those who do not have power. If you truly want to recover the money to repay the debt, then you start at the top - not the bottom. You certainly don't start by cutting services such as the library. Start with Banks, Investment houses, Insurance companies, Oil companies and the big supermarkets.

Why should my local library, that my children visit at least once a week, be forced to reduce its services or maybe even close completely simply because we propped up the failing financial sector. That financial sector is now firmly back on its feet and should be happy to pay back the lifeline it was extended plus a little extra, in order to support areas of the economy that have been hit most.

What practical use will cutting local services have? Will removing access to books help our society become more literate, will it help people who want to develop themselves but cannot afford to buy the book or will it somehow help those who lack social contact - the answer is no. Our libraries do all of these and more.

A small point for the idiots who are making these cuts - nobody is believing that it is not your fault - you can blame the previous lot or you can blame local councils - we don't believe you. You are making the decisions - you WILL live with the consequences. The rest of us have no choice but to live with the effects - in a few years time - you will live face the consequences.

So, here is my solution to not only keep, but to improve our libraries.

Control of libraries should fall under the same people that control back to work training schemes and job centres. Libraries should become the place where you go to improve yourself. I would like to see training courses delivered in libraries either in person or through interactive video links. The Internet has already changed the way that local libraries are used and this just takes it to a next level.
Hi speed internet links could deliver a huge amount of training to people who would never be able to access that training, whether it be basic computing, managerial skills, creative writing, applying for jobs or a million other subjects. The library then becomes a hub for the community - where people go to meet, interact and grow. Using hi speed internet, people would have more access to  events such as speeches and seminars that they would simply not be able to do previously.
Libraries should have more community rooms, where a variety of groups could meet and use the resources to grow. These would act as drop in centres, where community groups could grow and develop and have a 'home' where they could improve their offering - whatever that may be - from.

Closing these facilities down removes the possibility of developing these services in any shape and kills an opportunity for the next generation to be a step above this one.  I have not even touched upon the joy of reading and of developing your own intelligence.
I doubt that those at the top of government, those that make decisions have ever had to rely on local services such as the library and the Coastguard and I doubt they ever will.

The only way they will find out about the true effects of these decisions is if we tell them.  If we wait four years until the next election, it will be too late. We have an opportunity to make improvements if we choose to - the decision appears to be not to, but we need to act now, before it is too late to turn it around and recover the situation.

Lastly - a quick thought on Coastguards again. If Coastguards were merged with the immigration and customs service, with an expanded role in checking boats etc as well as in safe passage and rescue - would this be a better situation than to get rid of most of them?    Just a thought!

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