“Personal researchers” in Northants

Found via Booksurfer.


£15 an hour? I always imagined doing this sort of thing in public libraries as part of my job, should I be a public librarian. This sort of service should be the essence of what public libraries offer, alongside access to the products of imagination and research.

Public libraries should not be charging for this kind of service. The only rationale for charging is rationing, and I can certainly imagine it restricting the service available.

And surely the budget can’t be so stretched; if it is, library managment need to advocate for their service before taking up ideas like this.

At an interview for North Yorks public library service I said I wasn’t afraid of entrepeneurial thinking; maybe I actually am. We should first look to save money through good budgeting and the like before we come up with ‘personal searchers’ and the like.


7 Responses to “Personal researchers” in Northants

  1. Good for you. On this side of the pond, there have been advocates of “tiered service”–which they always say means “oh, you get everything you ever did for free, but those who want to pay can get more.” To me, that always means “of course, within a few years, all our attention will go to Those Who Pay, but there will be some minimal baseline for those freeloaders who only pay taxes.”

  2. This is a real shame. Perhaps that library has an unusually high number of ‘demanding’ users and not enough staff, but still. It’s part of my job and I don’t even work in a public library. That’s what we sign up for, and should be happy to provide.

  3. Pete says:

    It’s a thin end of the wedge issue I think. If you can charge for time, you can charge for anything.
    Some libraries have spun off small business consulting arms, e.g Birmingham’s Business Insight, and that’s fine. But charging someone for teaching them how to use Flickr… where does it end? Look at what’s happened with many school based services.

  4. Katharine says:

    I am stunned.
    What kind of service was being provided by public libraries before? Clearly not a library service??? – No, you have to PAY EXTRA for that!

  5. Pete says:

    Indeed. So many tax funded services now attract extra payments as well, be it in the NHS, schools or libraries. Clearly there are budget pressures in Northants, or maybe they’ve all got the entrpeneurial spirit!
    This kind of thing is grist to the mill that libraries waste money and lack focus and management skills.

  6. Katharine says:

    Errrr, I cant figure out how to do a proper track back from your blog to mine (being a bit new to this blogging lark) so I just thought I would post you this link to my related entry, as I thought you might like to see the comment left there tonight by Sarah (a public librarian). She makes some good points.


  7. Pete says:

    Thanks Katharine, I’ve linked to your post in my updated post.

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