Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Good Moose News

The Moose returned from Newcastle last night after a tour of the new central library and a meeting with the great and the good. I was ready for a fight. However, I remain unbruised and the antlers are still pointing in the right direction. It is heartening to report that Newcastle City council have decided that the library is an an esential service for the citizens of that borough. When all the library news nationally is about closures, to see the £25 million pound investment in a state of the art library in the middle of a thriving city centre is brilliant. The building is bright, light and accessible and of course everything from the issuing of books and the use of laptops is free. The Moose made his point to Roy Clare, cheif executive of the government funded MLA, museums libraries archive, and I also sat down and had a chat with the poet laureate Andrew Motion. They both agreed that libraries are essential, especially given the economic climate, and it is good to see library attendance up by 38% nationally. I was speaking to the converted. Everybody was saying all the right things, which was pleasing but worrying at the same time. When governement funded bods agree with me I start to worry. Are they just acquiescing to get me to move on? Anyway, a good day was had by all, and I've seen the future of the library service in Newcastle and it looks good. I do have an issue with PFI, which is how the building has been funded, it's like paying for your house with a credit card, but that's another fight for another day, but the citizens of Newcastle have a fantastic new library and I congratulate the council for everything they're doing in their provision of a first class library service. Other councils should take note, with political will and public consultation, providing an excellent library service could win you votes. Library vote shocker and the food was pretty good too.

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