The Mayor and his officers continue to stand by their selection of 14 libraries, including some in the most deprived areas of Doncaster, despite admitting that the selection process was hugely flawed. This article about Dorset’s libraries echoes a familiar story:
Dorset County Council’s current proposal for its libraries proves his point: keep the 14 libraries with the most book-issues; close or abandon the remaining 20. It’s certainly simple. It’s easily understood. And it’s wrong.
Why wrong? Because it breaks the principle of equity that should underpin county council decisions. Council taxpayers contribute equitably for services irrespective of where they live and regardless of the specific demand they may have on any particular service. Each taxpayer is entitled, in return, to a non-discriminatory share of the services provided. Pooling and distributing resources for the common good in this way is fundamental to civilised community life.
The article goes on to suggest that cuts should be made proportionately to all libraries across the county. This is problematic in its own ways – not least because in itself, this method exposes the library service to a risk of not being comprehensive or efficient as required by the 1964 Public Libraries and Museums Act. However, the principle of equitable services is absolutely fundamental.