Conservatives block my proposal for additional funding for Devon libraries, despite budgeting for further 8 per cent decline in book issues next year
Conservative members of the Corporate Infrastructure and Regulatory Services scrutiny committee voted yesterday to block my proposal for additional funding dedicated to book purchases in Devon libraries, after the budget papers estimated a further 8 per cent decline in book issues in 2020-21, from 2.4 million to 2.2 million. Cabinet member Cllr Roger Croad admitted that the book stock had declined, but Tory councillors agreed to postpone discussion of the issue until September when a strategic review of library contract will come to the committee.
Chair Cllr Alistair Dewhirst suggested to Cllr Croad that if he was still in office in ten years time, the libraries would be issuing no books at all. But the Tories seem to think, as Cllr Ian Hall said, that libraries are more important as ‘community spaces’ than as places where people can find books.