Library service in decline
Claire Creaser, the author, says services are being lost at the rate of one or two a year.
Since 1990-91, staff numbers have fallen by a fifth in England, materials funds in school library services by 28 per cent and materials funds in public libraries by 4 per cent. But children's staff in public libraries in metropolitan areas have increased by a fifth, and 14 out of 67 authorities have experienced increases in materials funds for public and school library services.
Four authorities provide only a support service to schools and 12 have axed theirs. Newcastle ceased to operate in April, Liverpool closed its support service in July, Lancashire applies a pay-as-you-use system for secondary schools, the London borough of Haringey provides a service from nursery to 13 years and only seven out of 13 Welsh authorities provide a service.
The report notes a trend towards schools providing the main source of income for the school library service. In the counties, nearly three-quarters of schools' services are run on an agency basis by the library service on behalf of the education authority; in metropolitan districts, 57 per cent; and in London, 54 per cent.
The proportion of LEA pupils served fell by 5 per cent in 1994-95. In only seven counties, 12 metropolitan districts, five London boroughs and four Welsh authorities are all LEA schools served.