By Ian Anstice:
"The Guardian held one of its online debates on libraries today. The discussion between several library experts (managers, campaigners, councillors) and anyone contributing online. Around 200 comments were made so it’s a little condfusing: I’ve endeavoured to summarise below, although doubtless I have missed some things which some would consider important. Main threads and arguments.
Are libraries declining due to technological change? Libraries are still needed, in some ways more than ever: internet/online access essential and libraries provide the access and skills to those without either or both. Seven million have never used the internet. Wikipedia etc don’t cover all information and are prone to deletion, accidental or otherwise and is also not entirely trustworthy anyway. Libraries provide quiet study spaces. Children need the books and everyone needs serendipity that bookshelves allow. Bookstock is declining due to budget cuts. It’s not black and white – books and e-books will co-exist. Books are still in demand with 244 million loans in England 2011/12,
Via Karen du Toit