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One Show Spot for Lancaster Library

Author: 
John Freeman

Lancaster Library, which has been challenging the traditional image of libraries for some time with its innovative outreach work such as music events, was featured on the BBC's The One Show last night.

The feature, fronted by Anita Rani, compared Lancaster's success at bringing in new users with the closure plans for libararies the Wirral, which have been met with fierce opposition from locals.

With 145 libraries shutting in the UK in the last ten years alone and many more facing closure, Anita Rani asked whether Britain is approaching the final chapter in the story of these beloved public spaces. Lancaster's success seems to offer a much brighter future for a vital pubic service.

The spot, which can be viewed on the BBC's iplayer service for the next seven days, included interviews with a range of Lancastrians on the streets of the city, and comment from the Library's Stewart Parsons, who has organised all the recent music events there.

The feature has prompted a huge response on the show's official web pages, with one librarian from Sussex echoing the views of many.

"Gone are the days when all one could borrow were books or long-playing records," they note. "Now most libraries are centres where local residents can borrow books, DVDs, CDs, audio books, computer games as well as using public access internet computers for browsing, study, work and IT education.

"... To lose our Public Libraries would be devastating and I can only think that the closures are being considered by people who are not frequent library users and who have no understanding of how important Public Libraries are to each and every community they serve."

Despite the popularity of libraries with local communities, the Lancaster and Morecambe area has lost several in recent years thanks to cuts imposed by the county council.
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