Saturday, December 02, 2006

Shooting the Messenger
The Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA) is the national body reponsible for overseeing the public library service, and directing policy - it has also funded the Library & Information Statistics Unit (LISU)at Loughborough University. LISU does an excellent job compiling a regular annual report on Public Library Statistics, and it makes these available free 0f charge online so that ordinary people can read them. Similar statistics are also published by CIPFA - the Chartered Insitute for Public Accountants which take considerably longer to compile. CIPFA only make a fraction of their report available free of charge online.
Both the LISU figures and the CIPFA figures measure and report on the massive and long-term decline in book-borrowing in the UK - but in the past CIPFA has put a gloss on the presentation of the statistics they compile, while LISU openly presents statistics. Now, however, the MLA has decided to withdraw funding from LISU so that the statistical report just published will be the last.

If you feel strongly about this you can email MLA Chair Mark Wood, at:

Please mark your email for his personal attention and request a personal reply.