Local libraries “have lost £25 million pounds over the past six years”, a new report argues. Many people know libraries as free, supportive places where members of the public are able to borrow books, use the internet and hold weekly meetings. Some would say that libraries are necessary in very area, as they provide critical classes and resources to people unable to access them. But it has been a downhill struggle for Libraries since 2010. A new Cipfa report revealed that UK public libraries had taken a £25m hit to budgets and 15m drop in visitors as a result of harsh cuts by local authorities. This report also revealed that 8000 jobs were cut in the last six years, almost a quarter of all library staff nationwide. As a result of this libraries are relying on volunteers, with causes irregular opening times and a lack of trained staff. Philip Pullman, the author of the famous trilogy His Dark Materials, said the library service should not rely on volunteers. "It is exploiting people's goodness and willingness to work and so on," he told the BBC. "I am in favour of volunteering but relying on volunteers to provide a service that ought to be statutory is not a good policy. What next? Are we going to rely on volunteer teachers because we can't find new teachers because all the staffing levels in schools are going down?". Many people are in agreement with his point, saying that the country needs all the jobs it can get.

West Norwood library used to reside in Nettlefold Hall, a building that local councillors described as “unfit for purpose”. It has since gone under a regeneration project, on of the few libraries in the country to do so. It is due to be opened in 2018, along with a cinema. We spoke to the leader of The Friends of West Norwood library, John Atkins. “I am incredibly pleased that our new library is opening with a cinema. It will encourage younger people to use the library services, and provide more money for the library. West Norwood Library is an advocate to struggling libraries nationwide, to show them how to be creative and use what they have. Ideally, we would like to use the whole building for the library, but we are grateful to have even the smallest space. In times like this, when so many public services are being cut, we have to stick together and push through. It’s what we do.”

Erin Ramsden, Dunraven School