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Views of the week - 20 October 2011

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LGC rounds up the best comment, analysis and opinion from the past week.

Column

Vandalism on a worse scale than the riots

Boyd Tonkin, The Independent

Which events in London during 2011 will bring most lasting disgrace to the capital, and to the nation? The teenage rioters who plundered fashion outlets presented a dismal spectacle. But many will grow up and look back on those moments of madness with embarrassment.

The members and overpaid senior officers of Labour-run Brent Council have no excuses of youth, despair or deprivation. These boorish jobsworths have committed vandalism of a graver sort.

Not content with winning the High Court case last week that sought to halt the closure of six branch libraries, Brent council – with indecent haste – dispatched wrecking crews. On Thursday they were sent around the borough to board up buildings that for more than a century have brought enlightenment and inspiration to residents. Brent has written itself a starring role in the long saga of British philistine stupidity.

Not far away from Brent, in Hillingdon, a six-year programme of renovation has seen visitor numbers and borrowing soar. Spending smarter does not inevitably entail spending more. Protesters ought to heed this message, at the same time as they rightly indict the meanness and myopia of Town Hall and Whitehall. For now, though, the Brent campaigners must be allowed to challenge this official crime against an entire community.

And their appeal must prevail.

 

Pick of the Blogs

Outcome of Brent Judicial Review

Voices for the Library

Council leaders across the country may look to this ruling to justify library closures and will see this ruling as the legal backing they require to go ahead with planned library closures. They would be wrong to do so.

Mr Justice Ouseley remarked that he did not believe the ruling in Brent had wide significance across the country, but instead reflected a judgement purely on how Brent council had approached its local situation. Councils should not, therefore, see this outcome as an excuse to cut their own services in a similar way. In the age of the internet it is easy to assume everyone has access to a wealth of free information.

The reality is that there are 9 million people in this country who are not connected to the internet. For those 9 million people, the library is the only resource they have. For parents of young children, the library plays an important role in supporting their development and improving their literacy skills. For the elderly it is a vital lifeline to ensure they are not excluded from society.

Full blog available on www.voicesforthelibrary.org.uk/wordpress/

 

Twitter

mickfortune: Public libraries being celebrated at two festivals this weekend :-)! - In France of course. In Brent they celebrate closing them down.

jonathanfryer: When voters gave power to #Labour in #Brent ad #Camden last year they weren’t giving a green light to close libraries

SportingNeasden: Brent libraries played a large part in making me who I am today (the clue’s in the name). And the next generation?

SimonFParker: I love libraries, but I never use them and some cost over £8.00 per book issue. Debate shdn’t be open/close, but need for a system redesign.

Rula912: People love libraries. That’s why social care cuts are deeper

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