RDN on library cuts on BBC R4 You & Yours
Local libraries, like woodlands, seem to inflame the English middle class in a very special way. So it was good fun to go on BBC Radio 4’s You & Yours and bat for the closure programme.
I know: if I say I enjoyed myself it’s like saying that I enjoy throwing librarians on the dole. I don’t have to bring to mind the nice librarians in my local library to feel quite strongly that the loss of librarians is sad. But it’s still fun to point out that (quite beyond the Luddism of local libraries) this is the class of issue which brings out the absurdity of middle class statism.
The middle class are the very people who will in the less-statist world create and dispense culture. They cling to the hope that it can be a matter of professionals and taxes, but I am pretty sure it shouldn’t and won’t be. Besides, I very much doubt that many of the present middle class protestors themselves use libraries much or that libraries are a very clever way of addressing the pressing matter of civilising the underclass.
Anywhere, here’s a crib I prepared for my appearance.
10 Propositions on cutting Public Libraries
Books are now too cheap to be a matter for state intervention
We can get “books” to the poor in many digital forms
We can send books to the poor from central depots
Many spend half their year in “reading” environments: schools and universities
In the holidays, teachers could open up school and university libraries for all-comers
The informed middle class could help the ignorant access online information
Libraries could be closed but re-opened as community centres
Community Centres could extend their role to including reading, etc
Charity shops could improve their already excellent role as booksellers
Specialist books are already sent from depots to the inquisitive