Library Cuts Need Fresh Thinking
This week, Brent council closed down six of its twelve libraries in order to save money, despite massive protests. Obviously you only need to be able to read pamphlets to work at Brent Council, but perhaps they could have saved the requisite amount by taking a collective wage cut. Of course, that will never happen, so what about more radical thinking?
Through much of the 20th century Boots the chemist lent out books. The Boots Book Lending service was established in 1898. It was usually on the first floor and was fitted with wooden bookshelves, chairs, tables and even notepaper and fresh flowers. Members paid a subscription and were able to borrow books, (light romances and whodunnits were the most popular). By 1938 Boots libraries were issuing 35 million books each year. The company liked to emphasise its reputation for providing ‘clean’ books.
If Waterstone’s and other bookshops did this, combining it into the space currently used by their coffee shops, surely they’d encourage reading and draw more people in?