The current Labour administration seem to be confused as to what it is librarians and libraries actually do. I thought I would write, therefore, to enlighten said Labour councillors and Star readers.
A librarian, such as the ones we lost in Stannington in 2014, acts as a teacher to teach children a love of reading and literacy, which in turn boosts their life skills and betters their chances of getting a decent job and/or succeeding in higher education.
A librarian provides access to self-help resources to someone who is depressed and keeps adults who may otherwise be socially isolated alive by talking and lending a sympathetic ear.
Librarians signpost homeless people, people at risk of eviction or with health conditions, to name just a few examples, to the appropriate services to access help.
Librarians provide children in deprived areas, whose parents would otherwise not be able to afford extra help with schoolwork, with access to professional help with research to help improve said children’s chances of excelling at school and getting a good job.
All this and much more make librarians extremely good value for money and very valued by the community in which they worked in Stannington’s case.
You wouldn’t replace academic librarians with volunteers in university libraries, nor would you replace them with volunteers in the libraries based in hospitals to help medical students.
Why on earth do the Labour councillors in Sheffield think it is acceptable across the city and why do the LibDem councillors in Stannington keep supporting this failed policy?
Librarians, not volunteers, please.