Plans to close CRE library

Plans to close CRE library

Written by: Jenny Bourne

Librarians and race relations workers in London are shocked at proposals to close the library at the Commission for Racial Equality to members of the public.

According to current plans, management has allocated no funds to the library service in the budget, current staff members are to be redeployed and the library itself is to be placed under lock and key – openable only to research staff under the Communications Team at the CRE’s HQ in Victoria. Up till now the CRE’s library, manned by one chartered librarian and a full-time assistant, was open to both CRE staff and the general public and provided an excellent, professional service on British race matters.

Four months ago, when it became clear at the start of the financial year that cuts would have to be made across the whole of the CRE structure, management wanted to close the library altogether, even sell its assets to another body. But after representations from some of the Commissioners and organisations, including the unions at the CRE, that it was a valuable resource, management had a rethink. Now the library will be kept as an internal resource. But there appear to be no arrangements made, as yet, for obtaining new stock or for accessioning journals or cataloguing new materials.

Concern at the move to close the library to the public has come from a range of groups, including the Chartered Institute of Librarians and Information Professionals. With the Runnymede Trust having closed its library down and the Institute of Race Relations library running a skeleton service (because of lack of funds), the CRE library was the one place in the capital that could be relied upon. According to the CRE management, there have not been enough members of the public using their library. But, according to the unions, this only takes account of the number of visitors to the CRE’s offices and not the many phone queries the library staff deal with and the help they give to CRE and Race Equality Council staff.

Related links

Commission for Racial Equality

The Institute of Race Relations is precluded from expressing a corporate view: any opinions expressed are therefore those of the authors.

One thought on “Plans to close CRE library

  1. I find it disgraceful that, as a country, we can risk the lives of our troops spending money on a bogus war, and yet cannot deliver funds for the upkeep of vital institutions such as this. Why are we allowing such things to occur ? I strongly urge anyone who is concerned about the closure of this library to contact their local M.P. ( it doesn’t matter whether or not you voted for them, or whether or not you voted at all … they still represent YOU !), and request funds for this library to remain open to the public.

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