Warning that the human face of libraries will be lost as Hampshire moves to automate library service

The Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP) has warned about the dangers of losing expert assistance and human interaction as self-service kiosks are proposed to replace library staff amid mass redundancies in Hampshire.

It was reported last week that Hampshire County Council has offered widespread voluntary redundancies in order to make budget savings. They plan to replace library staff roles via a ‘one-off investment in self-service equipment’. CILIP has called on Councils to recognise that frontline library staff are relied on by members of the community for a wide range of support and assistance that cannot be replaced by technology.

CILIP CEO Nick Poole said:

We are deeply concerned at the news that 74 members of the library profession are to lose their jobs in Hampshire. A library isn’t a supermarket. Library users need support and expertise in an accessible, safe and trusted environment, which is what qualified librarians are trained to provide.  

A kiosk can’t deliver a book club or lead a parent and baby group or help people gain access to the online services they need. They can’t welcome a school group, talk to you, offer you kindness, information or support. It is simply wrong to suggest that you can adequately replace a librarian with an automated system and still deliver a quality service”.

Later this week CILIP members will vote on a resolution that the professional body oppose the ‘amateurisation’ of the library service nationally. CILIP’s Chair of Council Martyn Wade has publicly encouraged CILIP members to vote in favour of proposals, saying that action must be taken when the quality and long-term sustainability of library services is at risk.


Press contact

Mark Taylor
Director of External Relations, CILIP
Tel: 020 7255 0654
Email: mark.taylor@cilip.org.uk

Notes to editors

CILIP: the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals is the leading professional body for librarians, information specialists and knowledge managers. CILIP’s vision is a fair and economically prosperous society underpinned by literacy, access to information and the transfer of knowledge. CILIP is a registered charity, no. 313014. Visit www.cilip.org.uk for more information.

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