My Concerns with Book Lender

I saw a tweet by Barbara Band last night that got my hackles up:

I started mentally composing this post then fell asleep as it was rather late and woke up this morning still annoyed. I feel (as do many of my colleagues) that this service is not necessarily a bad thing for areas that do not have Schools Library Services or possibly for schools that lack professional input into their library but the way they are going about belittling the work of librarians and teachers is really beyond the pale, I know of no professionals that would put out-of-date materials into a collection just to have something, we are better than that

Upon closer inspection, Book Lender is currently aimed at Primary Schools – this is a smart business move as Primary School Libraries are often run without a professional librarian and sometimes with limited teacher input.

Once this service has become established it is only a matter of time until it is extended to secondary schools which may put even more librarian jobs at risk, as with school budgets becoming ever tighter and the offer of targeted stock to fit in with lesson plans, head teachers may well decide that a professional librarian is a luxury that can be done away with.

It also appears that BookLender is a business run by Carillion, a company that is making inroads into running public library services for a number of local authorities. In the past Carillion has been criticised for running a blacklist against unionised workers, and colleagues who have worked in libraries taken over by this company have mentioned less than satisfactory working conditions.

Carillion were also in the running to take over my local authority’s library service but last I heard they had pulled out.

The privatisation of public library services has long been a major concern of mine and now corporate tentacles winding their way into school library services is widening my concern.

One Thought on “My Concerns with Book Lender

  1. If schools go to http://www.schoolslibraryservicesuk.org wanting to borrow book boxes, one of the existing schools library services will be happy to offer a service, which will be much better than any Carillion will provide (and probably cheaper when their hidden costs are added on. It will also be personalised, you will be able to speak to a person. MLS since becoming part of Capita is also trying to muscle into schools library service territory. It is very disheartening when schools library services are fighting to survive.

    Nina Simon
    Redbridge Schools Library Service

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