<p>Yinnon Ezra, head of parks and culture in Hampshire and a new appointee to the board of the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council, has come under fire from library campaigners, after he reportedly told local press that "the core business of public libraries, mass lending of fiction, is in terminal decline". He added: "Libraries have to re-invent themselves big time or otherwise wither on the vine." The comments were reported in the Hampshire Chronicle.
Desmond Clarke, chairman of the libraries charity Libri and former director of Faber slammed the reported remarks as evidence that it was "Yinnon Ezra--not the public--who is giving up on libraries". Clarke added: "All the evidence shows reading fiction is more popular than it ever was [but] if we don't invest in libraries and in particular in the book stock, there is inevitably going to be a decline."
Ezra's comments come less than a week after a similarly controversial statement was reported to have been made by a Hertfordshire councillor: "Children these days would rather play on their Gameboy than read a book . . . We have to accept that people do not want to visit libraries".