First up, last week Fife Council agreed to close 16 libraries as part of a major drive to save money. Libraries at Abbeyview, Bowhill, Colinsburgh, Crail, Crossgates, East Wemyss, Falkland, Freuchie, Glenwood, Kinghorn, Lundin Links, Markinch, Pittenweem, Pitteuchar, Thornton and Townhill are all to close. Councillor David Ross said: ‘Libraries are an important and valuable service for our communities across Fife but we need to acknowledge that the way people use them is changing.’ He went to say that half of the respondents to a questionnaire agreed with the closures.
As an author, I abhor library closures, and as a citizen and Council Tax payer (not in Fife), I feel equally cross. Libraries are a valuable source of human knowledge and should be made available to everyone, not just the well-off who can afford books and a decent wi-fi connection. They are a sanctuary for the homeless on cold days and a place of wonder for pupils from local schools, who are usually in my local library whenever I go in, and everything else in between. Resist further library closures, write to local councillors who are considering such measures and tell them you will start a campaign to unseat them if they persist.
On a more positive note, from next year authors will earn more from library books borrowed, from 6.66p per book to 7.67p. Before ordering that new Bentley, just remember less books are being borrowed and there is a £6,600 ceiling on an individual author’s earnings, designed to ensure the pot is more fairly distributed.