Cambridgeshire library services suddenly introduced charges for book reservations in June this year – they are £1 per book for books between Cambridgeshire libraries, £2 for books from Suffolk libraries, and £7.50 for inter-library loans from other national libraries.Read more
Q1. What is the reservation charge?
If the library item you need – let's say it's a book – is out on loan, or if it's held at another Cambridgeshire library, you can ask for it to be reserved for you. When the book's returned from loan or delivered to your library, it will be put aside for you to borrow next. This system helps ensure that shared resources are used efficiently.Read more
The basis for the library reservation fee for adult users, introduced as an austerity measure by Cambridgeshire County Council in June, remains unclear after the council's response to a set of requests under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. We'll discuss its response below (that response is also attached in full) but present our main findings immediately.
- The council has been unable to produce documentation of the decision to introduce the fee.
- The council has been unable to produce evidence that the fee's impact on communities has been considered.
- An internal council report projected that the fee could discourage two thirds of adult reservations.
- The fee was to be announced 14 days after the council passed a budget for 2016/17 which didn't include it.
What did we ask? What has the council told us?Read more
Cambridgeshire residents should be seriously concerned that access to an important part of their library service now depends on their ability to pay ('Dismay at £1 library charge', Cambridge News, 8 June). The new reservation charge will be a disproportionate blow to, among other groups, those of us who don't live in easy reach of the county's urban libraries and rely on reservations to get the books we need at smaller ones. We can be certain that use of these libraries will fall as a result. And we can expect that falling usage will be given as a reason to close yet more libraries in a future round of austerity cuts.Read more
Cambridgeshire County Council announced last week that it plans to introduce a reservation fee of £1 for all adult library users from 13 June. As a result, users who are not able to travel into the centre of Cambridge but instead request books to collect at their nearest branch will in practice no longer have access to a free public library service.Read more