More than 1,000 library staff will lose their jobs in the next 12 months, according to a new survey by the Chartered Institute of Library & Information Professionals (CILIP).
A survey of local authorities by CILIP, carried out during July and September with the support of the Society of Chief Librarians, led to their estimates that 1,100 library staff will be lost, while 1,720 opening hours a week will also be cut. The library service in England, Wales and Northern Ireland will also lose £22.5m in revenue expenditure.
CILIP president Phil Bradley said: “Communities, families and individuals across the country are at the sharp end as cuts bite deeply into public library services. We are deeply concerned to see the number of staff continuing to reduce. Over the past two years we estimate that nearly 3,300 library staff posts will have gone. Without their expertise, knowledge and experience it will be a struggle to plan and deliver quality library services.”
He added: “Services that go way beyond lending books alone, services that transform lives by providing everyone with opportunities for learning, improving literacy skills, helping people with their information needs and fostering the growth of knowledge.”
The survey, which was responded to by 93 out 174 public library authorities, a response rate of 53%, found that one in five councils are considering co-locating library services in the same building as other services such as leisure centres, parish councils, and police points, while nearly 10% of libraries could be community run by April 2013. Half of councils are looking at alternative ways of running their service, in partnerships with private companies or trusts.