Culture minister Margaret Hodge's suggestion that libraries should link up with internet bookseller Amazon greeted with outrage
Alison Flood, guardian.co.uk, Friday 9 October 2009
The culture minister Margaret Hodge's suggestion that libraries should start selling books as well as lending them has been greeted with outrage by embattled booksellers.
Speaking yesterday at the public library authorities conference in Bristol, Hodge outlined the terms of a consultation process due to begin later this year, saying that with less than 40% of the UK's population using libraries she was "all in favour of pushing our thinking to the boundaries, and testing ideas to destruction".
Highlighting the "worrying statistics" that books borrowed have fallen by 41% over the last ten years, and that there have been 63 library closures since Labour came to power in 1997, Hodge said yesterday that the challenge for libraries was "all about getting whatever the library equivalent might be for 'bums on seats'". "If we make our service popular; if we ensure it is well and widely used, it will be much more difficult to chop it when times are tough," she said.