REPORTS are that Warrington Central Library appears to have dodged LiveWire’s axe (Warrington Guardian, February 2).
The revised proposal to establish a heritage quarter with the library at its centre is a far cry from the original recommendation to shift the library into an abandoned shoe store in a shopping centre; the new decision likely prompted by a possible grant from Heritage Britain and the public outcry against LiveWire’s first try.
However the idea of shoving the other libraries into available space in district hubs stems from the same mentality as the shoe shop idea.
It would appear the composition of the working group tasked to report on the future of other libraries is heavily stacked in favour of the previous approach, namely to keep the library but cut the cost; three LiveWire reps, probably including one of the councillors on the board, two more borough councillors who are doubtless budget minded and just two independents.
If the council is seeking a truly balanced and non-political set of recommendations, it would make more sense to appoint a knowledgeable working group comprising a librarian with experience, a publisher with marketing expertise, a writer and two library users, plus one LiveWire rep and one councillor.
Unfortunately libraries are soft targets for cost-cutters.
It is time to view libraries as an asset on the balance sheet rather than as an expense.
Libraries are more than just a collection of books, they are crucial to culture and learning as well as being a resource for all types of information and entertainment including internet information and, like any asset, must be invested and grown, not cut back.
I recommend that all parties involved in the decision-making process read A Short Cut to Marketing the Library by Zuzana Helinsky before getting started on the task at hand.
A copy is likely obtainable through your library service.
GORDON LEIGH Alberta