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Not strictly gardening but I know that many of us use our local libraries for both pleasure and research.

When faced with cutbacks, our local authorities do seem to prefer to cut Library hours, close down small ones and do away with the Mobile Library service.  Despite evidence from other countries with thriving Libraries which charge for this service, the UK seems oddly antagonistic to this idea.

Our own local service is under threat yet again, particularly the Mobile service and we have until January to make our representations.

I know that I would prefer to pay a subscription to use any library service but surprisingly even some Library staff seem to think this completely out of the question.  People can't afford it is the stock answer - even apparently 25 pence per week.

If anyone would like to take a few minutes to just respond to the following I'd be very grateful.....

Would you pay for a library service ?

If so, do you think it fairer to charge an annual subscription or to charge per item or visit ?

How far do you live from a Library ?

Do you make use of a mobile service ?

Age........rough nothing specific..........say "under 30"...."30 to 60 " or "60 plus".

Any other related comments welcome.

Thanks very much



  • I would pay for a library service rather than lose it.  (Of course we pay for it already, but I know what you mean.)
  • I think charging per item would be fairest.
  • I live 3.5 miles from our wonderful central library in Norwich, 2.5 miles from a smaller local library, and a short walk from the Waitrose carpark where the mobile library stops.  We are very well catered for living here.  When I lived in a rural village and was a mum working from home I lived for the fortnightly visits from the mobile library.  So did my children.  The mobile library is so important to isolated rural communities, many of which have no regular bus services, and I think they should be saved over some of the community libraries on the outskirts of cities like this - at least we can get a bus to the library.
  • Aged 62

We currently use our library once a week (my daughter would use it more) and we do have to pay already if we want certain things like putting a book on hold.

Would you pay for a library service ? I think we would pay for an annual subscription but at the moment it is one of the free pleasures our family have access to. I say annual subscription as I would rather encourage children to take out as many books as possible and have the love for them that my children have as opposed to perhaps feeling restricted by a parent counting the pennies.

How far do you live from a Library ? Five minutes walk.

Do you make use of a mobile service ? Not one I am aware of being available.

Age........ 36

We have recently moved and the nearness to the library was an influencing factor for us. Prior to this we had no easy access to a library.


I would pay, not much because I haven't got much.

Annual subscription, I wouldn't want to pay per item because some of the items aren't worth paying for.

I'm old and 3 miles or so from a library. I read a lot

I'm considering electronic books, wouldn't have to go to the library and could never forget one and get overdue

Have I covered it?


I don't use the library service but I know plenty who do.

library services have been cut to the bone here too Philippa along with care for the elderly and for those with learning difficulties.  "Austerity" is all very well but what about the well being of those badly affected by it?  

I think we should pay more to keep these welfare services functioning.  Those avoiding taxes.......celebrities, big business etc....should now pay their dues.  Pay cuts for the workers should also apply to the bosses.....our own unitary council has just announced more job losses and pay cuts yet the "bosses" are determined to keep their full pay.  No, Mr Cameron, we are not "all in it together" 


I take on board other people's preference for annual subscriptions - I'm really not sure which would be best.  I thought Pay per Item because it would be a smaller amount and not put people off .  There's probably pros and cons for both.


Pay as you go would have me changing my technique. Our local library is small so I take anything I haven't read, (ignoring one or two types of novel)  and reject anything unreadable later on.

The central library involves carrying books too far and paying to park. There are larger local libraries but they're some miles away.

Ours are now run by a private company, not the council. They run all the leisure stuff and some areas are much improved by this. I have fears for the libraries though. Maybe unfounded. I hope so.

 Thanks Minos and Nutcutlet..........all grist to the mill


Perhaps a two tiered system might work.  People who know that they will use the library frequently would prefer to pay a subscription and other infrequent users like myself might be happier paying per item.

My local library is a five minute walk away but not particularly well stocked.  I don't use a mobile library.

Aged 59. 

A small charge per item would not be offputting whereas a subscription might deter people on lower incomes from using their libraries. I confess I haven't used our central library (ten miles away) for some time but I have relied on it in the past to educate me about musical genres that I would not normally come across and I would certainly be willing to pay a small amount for that. I'm over 60 and regard the provision of libraries as essential in a civilised society.

Thanks also Verdun.......I appreciate your comments about other services neighbours have brother with learning difficulties.......seems every time I see them, more costs are involved.

I'd like to champion more causes but the Library service is something I feel particularly strongly about and I wanted to see what other people thought before I finalise my representation.  Hardly an official survey I know but everyone's  views are useful.

Does anyone have an idea what a fair annual sub would be ?  Depends on the local population / numbers regularly using library services I know. Pay per item could perhaps be more popular with those who only use the library occasionally.  For myself, I can drive to the main Library ( about 7 miles ) but some of my neighbours can't......either thru disability or just age and they are the ones  who really rely on a mobile service. I also make a point of using my monthly mobile service as supposedly the more people making use of it, the more likely it is to survive.  That was the theory anyway but seems to have gone by the board now.

Whichever Library service I use, I would at least like the option of paying for it rather than lose it.


Lesley and Ceres..........thanks for that.........a pattern of some kind is emerging and I aim to use all of the info offered so far


I worked for a public library way back in the 70s. The rot set in then when they were moved from the council's education department to the park and amenities department. Overnight the funding disappeared.

I did another stint in the noughties, part time, and the emphasis was all on making money rather than offering education or self-improvement or other forms of enlightenment. We were lumbered with issuing bus passes to criminals, renting umbrellas and watching the children's library become a parking spot for children who were no longer being collared by truancy officers because truancy officers no longer existed.

I utterly resent the idea of paying twice for a library service, once through the council tax and again by a charge. I also see the dead-end that is voluntary libraries (who to order new stock, who to catalogue, who to barcode and otherwise prepare the books for loan, who to act as the librarians of old did, in selecting them and recommending them to readers?) I could go on all night.

I am particularly angry that the councils mis-invested their funds and got caught up in the farce that was the banking "boom". They were supposedly professional people - had they never heard that if something looks too good to be true, it probably is? The fall out of it was what we see now. All this squandering of funds incenses me. Nobody lost their jobs because of this incompetence. All the managers in the last council I worked for kept their jobs and sailed off into retirement without a backward glance. Redundancies lower down the line were uncountable. The libraries that I worked in are sponsored by big business- fast food and sugary drinks.

I live five minutes from a library. I am over sixty.

Don't use the main library much as I have to pay for parking , parking is cheaper than public transport

but there are 2 small libraries in villages close buy , 1 in a school and the other in a community centre , keep meaning to try and find them 

at the moment would prefer to pay a nominal charge per item

I live in Lincolnshire and the County Council are trying to off load them

age 61 


hi Phillipa 

i dont use the service very often, but have in the past.

i would be happy to pay for this as its a leisure facility in the same way as a gym is, it would have to be a fairly low amount, possibly based on how much i use the service?

sorry, ive no idea if we have a mobile library!

i live within a 5 min walk from our library, this has been put in our new community hub, with the gym, and is where the local groups are held, this probably makes a difference.

our library is used as much for internet access, photocopies etc as  anything else



sorry, tablet had a 'moment'

im 35 


I visit; Wisbech, King's Lynn and Downham Market libraries. They very rarely have new books by authors that I know, so I have to experiment with new (to me) writers. Last week I took out 6 books and they were all badly written rubbish (how do they get published?) So I read none of them. I would be very p....d off if I had had to pay for each one. I agree with the poster above who said that we already pay - this is true, but in the current situation I can see that we will have to contribute more towards their upkeep.

Also do the libraries really need to stock shelf after shelf of Mills and Boon type novels, does anyone read them?


I have always used a library, wherever we have lived, so has the OH - would be happy to pay a subscription as we use it so much so would certainly get our moneys worth. Our nearest library is only a few minutes away by bus or car but there is a small charge in the library car park.

I am over sixty..

Thanks Pansy............I can well understand your anger. Trouble is, I don't know how to improve life per se.  We are all paying twice over for lots of services but unless central and local government changes pretty smartish, that looks to be the way of life. 

At the moment, I'd just like to try and make my voice heard about something I feel strongly about.  Whether it will do any good is debatable but it's worth a go