Drive for library ebook service ignoring thousands, campaigners claim
LIBRARY users are being forced online, campaigners fighting against cuts to the service have claimed.
Members of Friends of Gloucestershire Library have questioned Shire Hall about the number of people signing up to the new e-book system.
They believe it is being used to mask the cuts in funding being made across the county.
And they fear the move to online services will leave many people without access to library facilities.
Dyson DC50i - Bagless upright vacuum cleaner - BALL Technology -...View details
Thisi is Dyson's smallest upright vacuum cleaner with the performance of a full size upright machine. The DC50i has Dyson's most advanced cleaner head technology and 2 Tier RadialTM cyclones.
Terms: LIMITED STOCK OFFER. FREE delivery to most UK postcodes - Next working day dispatch.
Contact: 01664 491439
Valid until: Monday, May 27 2013
Gloucestershire County Council currently has 3,191 people signed up to the ebook service since April. It has a target of 6,000 people signing up by the end of the first year.
Readers use a pin, which is given to them by the library service, to download the books for a limited period of time.
Johanna Anderson, chairman of Friends of Gloucestershire Libraries, said thousands of people could be unable to access the internet, who will miss out if the authority pushed everything online.
She insisted it could not be used as an excuse for the drop in book stocks.
"It seems the county council is trying to explain away the drop in library usage by saying more people are accessing services online," she said.
"But there are 40 per cent of people in Gloucestershire who do not have any access to the internet.
"And it does not account for the 40 per cent drop in book stock by the council at its libraries.
"It is no good forcing everybody online when so many people cannot, or do not want to, access the internet.
"They need to ask what people want rather than just assuming."
But library bosses insisted there was a growing demand for online services which they were trying to meet.
Lisa McCredie, media manager, said: "We are offering 'e' services because increasingly that is how people are choosing to read and we want to modernise our library service.
"This is in keeping with the vast majority of other library services in the country. More ebooks are sold by Amazon than traditional books now in the US.
"We have a stock budget and each year we prioritise how we spend it depending on customer needs and usage.
"This year the council has provided an injection of additional money to the stock fund. We are planning to spend £70,000 on ebooks and eAudio."