Charles Stross reports on the destruction of British libraries. As an author, he earns a few pence whenever a British library lends one of his books. Judging by this, his income has fallen by 27% in the past year:
Libraries are substantially but not exclusively used by children, the unemployed, and pensioners: mostly people without the discretionary spending power to shrug and go to a bookshop instead.
And note the first group I mentioned. I’m not a children/young adult author, but if the drop in my PLR loans reflects library closures, then we have just slammed the door in the face of a new generation of readers. I got my start reading fiction from my local library; the voracious reading habits of a bookish child aren’t easily supported from a family budget under strain from elsewhere during a time of cuts. I hate to think what the long term outcome of this short-term policy is going to be, but I don’t believe any good will come of it.