This is the text of an open letter sent by the NAG Executive to Ed Vaizey, the Bookseller, CILIP, the Independent and the Daily Telegraph.
The National Acquisitions Group is a not-for-profit organisation of public and academic librarians, and commercial suppliers of materials, software and services to libraries. It exists to aid librarians to be more efficient in the processes of acquiring and managing library materials, including books.
Recent media reports on the closure of libraries in a number of authorities has led to a growing, vocal protest that government cutbacks are having a serious detrimental effect on the public library network throughout the UK. We wish to add our voice to the opinion that closing libraries will seriously damage the educational and cultural life of Britain, in particular in disadvantaged communities. In addition libraries are crucial to the publishing industry, along with a whole range of supporting and associated suppliers and partners. Reductions in the numbers of libraries, Librarians and book funds will mean job losses across the whole sector, further hindering economic recovery.
Since its inception, the National Acquisitions Group has sought to define and implement standardisation and best practice throughout libraries in the UK, driving real efficiencies within the sector. Libraries have always been pro-active in adopting new technologies and working together where benefit can be derived. In many ways libraries have led the way for innovation and efficiency within local authorities. It is our view that further economies of scale can be had through closer co-operation, shared services, shared library stock and even greater use of technology, and that these models will help minimise the loss of library branches and professional staff, during what we recognise is a difficult financial situation. In addition, the adoption of these methods will produce library services fit for the future and not ones decimated for short term gains. Through our programmes of training, seminars, publications, networking and partnerships with other library organisations, NAG is well placed to help shape the future of libraries through these challenging times.
The Executive Committee of the National Acquisitions Group