Those of us of a certain generation will remain the stern librarians of our youth. People whose default setting was shoosh....
Many libraries adapted and modernised years ago but they are an unwilling placeholder for austerity - an easy way to measure the decline in the public state and a reflection of an ageing population - not in paid employment but often providing community services by volunteering in libraries to keep them going.
Will there be libraries in 2050? Will people care? Is there a Brexit dimension? 2019 may give us more clues?
Unsurprisingly, the Chartered Institute of Public Finance & Accountancy’s annual survey of libraries in Great Britain showed the number of public library branches and paid staff continues to drop, as stretched councils reduce their spending on the service. Spending by local authorities on public libraries fell by £30m, with the service losing 712 full time employees, alongside a net loss of 127 service points in 2017/18. This follows a trend which has seen the number of public libraries and paid staff fall every year since 2010, with spending reduced by 12% in Britain in the last four years