<p>The library service needs an individual like Tate Gallery director Nicholas Serota to offer visionary leadership and offer a long-term perspective, Channel 4's Matt Locke told a debate on libraries last night (26th October).</p><p>The channel's commissioning editor for Education and New Media was speaking at a Reading Agency round table. He said: "Serota has done a great job at the Tate of articulating that long term vision that goes beyond the political cycles. It's important not to be constantly working on short-term tactical initiatives - like e-books."</p><p>Librarians, councillors, consultants and campaigners joined the discussion, chaired by Faber c.e.o. Stephen Page and held at the Free Word Centre in Farringdon, London.</p><p>Public policy consultant Sue Charteris called for a "national coalition of the willing" to support the beleaguered service, but also said the current climate of change offered opportunities for public libraries to reorganise.</p><p>"At last the culture is changing in terms of how local councils co-operate with one another," she said. "The mood has changed and we are going to get large groups of local authorities acting together. I really think it's different this time."</p><p>Campaigner Tim Coates reiterated his claim that 1,000 libraries are set to go in the wave of cuts, and called on publishers to take a leading role in supporting the service. "We are going to go through a horrible two years but from there we can build," he said, adding: "The Publishers Association is the only body who can help now. The Future Libraries Programme is a waste of time."</p>
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