Thu 21 November 2019
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Children's Laureate attacks Future Libraries report
The recently appointed children's laureate Julia Donaldson has condemned the "Future Libraries" report

The recently appointed children's laureate Julia Donaldson has condemned the "Future Libraries" report as a "cost-cutting exercise" containing among its recommendations some likely to lead to a deterioration of the service.

The report, "Future Libraries: Change, Options and How to Get There", draws on the first year of the Future Libraries programme set up by culture minister Ed Vaizey, and has been issued by the Local Government Association and the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council. Vaizey said the scheme "has shone a spotlight on excellent examples of innovation and creative partnership working" and called the report "a hugely useful resource, inspiring local authorities to emulate the best ideas to provide a first rate library service."

However, Donaldson told The Bookseller the minister's claims read like "empty rhetoric". She said: "I find it hard to see why Ed Vaizey professes to find this cost-cutting exercise so innovative and creative. Some ideas, such as partnerships between adjacent borough councils, seem sensible enough and probably would be happening anyway, but others—such as replacing trained librarians with volunteers—would be more likely to lead to a deterioration of the service."

She added: "Above all, I resent the underlying assumption that libraries should be underfunded by local government and should have to seek alternative ways to survive in the 21st century."

The Bookseller

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