Hertfordshire county council has voted through the closure of its school library service. The service will go at the end of March 2012.
Chris Hayward, the cabinet member for libraries, said the decision was confirmed at a meeting yesterday (19th December). "The library service offers expert advice and support to schools on a traded basis, and it is expected to cover its costs," he said. "In recent years, fewer and fewer schools have been buying into the service - only a third of secondary schools and 43% of primary schools now choose to buy in, with others finding alternative provision. This means that, despite restructuring in 2010, the service is running at a deficit and is no longer viable."
Hayward said schools could still buy library materials directly from library suppliers and publishers and obtain professional support and advice from organisations like the Schools Library Association. "Secondary school librarians and primary school library co-ordinators may also be able to use existing networks and partnerships to support each other and share resources," Hayward added. He concluded: "No school library should close as a result of this decision."
National Literacy Trust director Jonathan Douglas said: "Hertfordshire is an iconic service, a national centre for excellence. At a time when the government is talking of the importance of raising standards in literacy, this is not just a loss for Hertfordshire, but for services across the country."
CILIP chief executive Annie Mauger has already warned that the move may prompt similar action from other councils across the country.