Long live the librarian

In this era of Government cuts many services that we have come to depend on are now under threat or disappearing altogether.

Our libraries are definitely on the endangered species list so I was delighted to read in yesterday's Guardian that Oxfordshire County County will not be closing its six libraries in the Witney area. At the same time, however, I was dismayed to also learn that it would be at the expense of cutting professional staff leaving the libraries to be run by volunteers.

At TimeBank we are passionate about volunteering and are dedicated to promoting it as adding real value to society, but we would never advocate replacing skilled, trained professional staff with volunteers. This is absolutely NOT what the Big Society is all about. You wouldn't want to visit your doctor only to be told that they'd been laid off due to cost savings but there were volunteers at hand to help with your ailments.Years of hard work and training is what makes people experts and specialists; their jobs can't be learnt over night.

Apparently the shadow libraries minister, Gloria Del Piero has asked culture minister, Ed Vaizey, if he has any plans to run the House of Commons library through volunteers. According to Del Piero "he has not replied so I presume he does not." That, I think, pretty much sums it up.