Wednesday 1 June 2011

Libraries r us

At last. Oxfordshire County Council have done a U-turn on their disgraceful plan to butcher the county libraries, including the wondrous Charlbury library from whence I blog at weekends.

The new plan involves using volunteers for Charlbury. Eminently sensible as the village is stuffed full of professional types only too happy to eke out a few hours stamping library books.

But does the dear Oxon CC realise that volunteers need training and supervision? And do they think that comes for free?

And this illustrates a fundamental problem with government plans on giving and volunteering. Obviously Charlbury has a plenty source of willing and able people wanting to step up. Brixton does not.

All evidence shows that volunteering levels are higher in affluent areas. And as we know, the council spending cuts have hit poorer councils harder.

And people who give tend to like good causes like starving babies; not HIV or homelessness, let alone asylum seekers.

So this underlines the importance of the State's role in tackling deprivation and inequality. It's why we set up our welfare state!

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