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Twisted tale of library charges;Letter

WITH regard to the letter "Books which ran out of shelf life" (TES, August 13), charges for reservations are made in accordance with local government laws. In the Leeds library service, this is currently 70p (not 80p), about average compared with other authorities. It is well over 12 years since reservation charges were 30p.

We ask readers for a further pound;2 if they wish to loan an item which we need to borrow from the British Library or another authority. The cost to the service of each of these loans is pound;18 and comes out of the budget for new books.

Leeds, like any other library, is constantly rationalising its collections. Peace News, referred to in the letter, was not, as the author said, a full run. We held a few years worth of editions. Nor did we hold the only copies in the country. There are copies in the British Library and the Society of Friends.

The decision of what to keep and what to discard is made by working to a policy which was drawn up a number of years ago and has stood the test of time. Decisions to discard material are not made lightly and the British Library and other key collections are always consulted to see if they require the item first.

Denise Preston, Director of leisure services, The Town Hall, The Headrow, Leeds

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