Ignored for too long
Libraries give identity to a community and provide opportunities for everyone within it. Their role is to enrich lives, and to play an important role in meeting the aspirations of local communities and our society at large. A good library service will deliver against key policy objectives. UNJL is in the vanguard of the libraries in Lambeth and Croydon. For example the UNJL was the first in South London to introduce a self-service facility for the public to take books out and return them to the library.
There are many of the issues that have long been known to cause problems for the UNJL service. Scrutiny of some of the proposals and solutions suggests they may not be the right ones in context of the particular nature of UNJL. Library users are a valuable source of insights and ideas that is simply neglected. The long battle against inadequate funding is just one example. Investment in the Library is crucial, both in good times and bad. Because of its importance in our lives and our society, public library provision is a statutory duty for local Councils in their role as Public Library Authorities. It is also why the Government has the power to intervene if a local Council is thought to be failing in that duty.
The Campaign’s concern, however, is: just who will have the inclination and the clout to grasp the nettle and get something done? The lack of a clear answer is the problem for UNJL. The responsible body is the Joint Committee, which seems prepared to relegate its responsibility to an unaccountable Council.
The UNLCampaign will work with any politician or agency that wants to implement efficient funding and raise the profile and status of UNJL. Too often, the decision-makers are not aware what a good library service can do for the people they aim to serve. A bargain at the price.
Library users can help. And the UNL Campaign can help users. We look forward to doing so.