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Jobless Forced To Pay For Library Internet Access

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Britain's libraries are making the public pay for services previously provided for FREE before the Tory-led Coalition’s cuts, a shock survey reveals today.

And the new charges are hitting jobseekers, children and the elderly hardest as they had relied on free access to the internet and computer services at their local library.

In prime minister David Cameron’s Witney constituency and the rest of Oxfordshire, disabled people who could borrow DVDs and CDs for free now have to pay charges from £1.25 to £4.50.

Many libraries are providing the first half-hour of internet access free and then charging a range of fees to stay online.

And librarians say the move is poorly timed - just as the Government is putting more of its services online, such as applying for benefits and fill in job applications.

One librarian said:”A significant part of the population cannot afford to buy a computer or pay for broadband to access the internet.

“Consequently, the only opportunity this portion of the population has to access the internet is via library services, causing social exclusion.”

A survey of 2,000 library staff by Britain’s biggest public sector union Unison for its annual conference in Liverpool this week, uncovered a sorry picture of rising charges, shrinking opening hours and job losses in those libraries managing to escape being shutdown.

Many reported a steep rise in fines, charges for computer services and Internet access as well as children’s and schools-related services and author visits - the very services that attract new users to libraries.

And the survey that more than 40% of staff say their library now has an ‘income generation target’, prompting the same percentage (40%) to say that their library is now run more like a business than a public service.

One third report that libraries have reduced their opening hours, and a third have introduced charges for services previously provided for free.

A total of 79% of staff say they are working harder to try to maintain the same level of service, while 57% say it is impossible to maintain the same level of service as existed before the coalition’s drastic cuts. 60% have seen full time job losses, and more than half (54%) have seen a reduction in part time posts.

More than half (55%) report that their library relies on volunteers, which 73% say has grown since 2010, revealing the steady de-professionalisation of the service under the Tory-led coalition.

Heather Wakefield, Unison’s head of local government, said:“The government says that it values local libraries, but this is pure fiction - the facts speak for themselves.

“Hundreds of libraries have been closed, and those that remain are cutting their opening hours, their staffing levels, and some of the services they provide.

"Volunteers cannot be relied on to replace trained skilled library staff – the library service is being run into the ground.

“For more than 100 years libraries have been at the heart of our communities.

"They’ve inspired people to learn, helped parents on low incomes get their children interested in books, made it possible for people without a home computer to apply for work, and reached out to give elderly people a sense of community.

“But all this is now at risk. Libraries are being turned into businesses and Unison is calling for urgent action to protect them as a vital public service for communities now and in the future.”

Earlier this year (04.04.13) the Mirror revealed two libraries are closing every week under the cuts in the last two years.

A total of 439 libraries have closed since the Tory-led Coalition came to power in 2010, with another 280 - 245 buildings and 35 mobiles - now under threat.

Nearly 4000 full time jobs have been lost.

Well, I'm all for this if folk are going to use public terminals for social networking (faceplant, twatter, etc..).

However, folk actual visiting job sites need a hand, and this is disgusting abuse of the common wealth.

Closing libraries and charging the public for the use of materials and equipment shows how far removed contemporary Britain is from its Victorian heyday; the establishment of public libraries, worker rights, voting for the common man, suffrage movement, etc...

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Just thought I'd look up the facts...

Oxford Library offers:

Free wi-fi

And a bit more looking finds me::

http://www.oxfordshire.gov.uk/cms/content/internet-and-computers-libraries

Cost

The use of computers is free of charge. However, there are charges for printing and charges may be applied for other services.

Library computers are free to library members and visitors to use for up to 60 minutes a day. You need to be a member in order to book online.

Edited by SarahBell

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Well, I'm all for this if folk are going to use public terminals for social networking (faceplant, twatter, etc..).

However, folk actual visiting job sites need a hand, and this is disgusting abuse of the common wealth.

Closing libraries and charging the public for the use of materials and equipment shows how far removed contemporary Britain is from its Victorian heyday; the establishment of public libraries, worker rights, voting for the common man, suffrage movement, etc...

Agreed.

The easiest thing to do would be to simply filter out the most of the social media and gaming sites, provide timed access to some (eg retailers) and unlimited access to government online services/job sites/most others.

I have mixed feelings about the introduction of computers to libraries. In many cases, books come a distant second in terms of prominence and space and the computers are nearly always block booked by kids playing games on them.

I do think the librarian is a job which is gradually going extinct or needs to radically change. You can now check books in/out yourself, run your own searches to find them, book/reserve them, pay fines etc. The public facing role of the librarian is now little more than a supervisor and the person who puts the books back. The second of these could probably be de-skilled using computing nowadays.

Edited by StainlessSteelCat

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I do think the librarian is a job which is gradually going extinct or needs to radically change.

You could say the same for almost all traditional vocations requiring extensive educational backgrounds.

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The past:

library.jpg

The future:

KS-slate-02-lg._V401628473_.jpg

Libraries, like it or not, need to change, will change.

If you ask me the councils are just trying to raise more revenue. They have lost sight of their reason for being.

Edited by TheCountOfNowhere

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The past:

library.jpg

The future:

KS-slate-02-lg._V401628473_.jpg

So the past is a warm and light public space where you can go to get out of the house and quietly get on with work or study, while the future is a $100 piece of plastic with no value unless you can afford to pay for a data connection.

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Guest eight

Why should disabled people be able to rent DVD's for free? They already get higher rate benefits in the first place.

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Why should disabled people be able to rent DVD's for free? They already get higher rate benefits in the first place.

On man. That is one of the worst things I think anybody can say.

Hopefully you never see a zimmer frame, or have debilitating stroke and have to suffer under the likes of you.

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Guest eight

On man. That is one of the worst things I think anybody can say.

Hopefully you never see a zimmer frame, or have debilitating stroke and have to suffer under the likes of you.

I can't imagine ever reaching a point where I was trapped inside in my own mind, unable to speak or feed or dress myself and the fact I had to pay £1.49 to rent Mamma Mia was the thing I was aggrieved about.

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So the past is a warm and light public space where you can go to get out of the house and quietly get on with work or study,

You may be able to do that. I had access to some very good libraries back in my student days, though they were also a germ-exchange. At other times of life I haven't.

But libraries are very exclusionary: people can be effectively excluded for a range of reasons, such as geography or physical disability. The 'net opens a more comprehensive resource a whole lot more widely.

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You may be able to do that. I had access to some very good libraries back in my student days, though they were also a germ-exchange. At other times of life I haven't.

But libraries are very exclusionary: people can be effectively excluded for a range of reasons, such as geography or physical disability. The 'net opens a more comprehensive resource a whole lot more widely.

I'm not proposing we shut down the internet. However, I don't think issuing the population with a Kindle each and then shutting down all public libraries would be so great either. I owe a lot to having been able to sit and work in libraries at certain times in my education and career. They don't need to be full of paper books to carry out that function.

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So the past is a warm and light public space where you can go to get out of the house and quietly get on with work or study, while the future is a $100 piece of plastic with no value unless you can afford to pay for a data connection.

You want me to pay for you to have somewhere to go...fec off.

That's not the point I was making though, the library format will change, wether it is online, a room full of computers, something else, I have no idea what, but times, they are a changing.

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You want me to pay for you to have somewhere to go...fec off.

At one point the land was all free, then it was all parcelled up by men with swords who used the threat of force to charge the commoners for living on it. Nice to see you've internalised that system so completely that you can no longer even conceive of public space, I'm sure the Duke of Westminster would be pleased.

Edit: Also I'm sure you're completely consistent on this point so would have no problem with e.g. electronic tolls and parking charges on all roads. Or do you want me to pay for you to have somewhere to drive and park your car?

Edited by Dorkins

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At one point the land was all free, then it was all parcelled up by men with swords who used the threat of force to charge the commoners for living on it. Nice to see you've internalised that system so completely that you can no longer even conceive of public space, I'm sure the Duke of Westminster would be pleased.

Edit: Also I'm sure you're completely consistent on this point so would have no problem with e.g. electronic tolls and parking charges on all roads. Or do you want me to pay for you to have somewhere to drive and park your car?

Forgive him. He's obviously unaware of the concept of commonwealth.

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They should charge Jobseekers for looking for work.

Just pay A4E twice the amount the libraries cost to let jobseekers use their excuses for computers.

This will be a shit storm if they force people onto jobsmatch for x hours a week or sanction them.

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At one point the land was all free, then it was all parcelled up by men with swords who used the threat of force to charge the commoners for living on it. Nice to see you've internalised that system so completely that you can no longer even conceive of public space, I'm sure the Duke of Westminster would be pleased.

Edit: Also I'm sure you're completely consistent on this point so would have no problem with e.g. electronic tolls and parking charges on all roads. Or do you want me to pay for you to have somewhere to drive and park your car?

Surely a library is 'information'.

If the government make that information available to you so you can sit in the comfort and quiet of your own home, enlightening yourself and learning the wonders of the world, then that is enough. This could be covered by one central library service and the internet.

So, it's not the information/books you want, it's somewhere to sit ? Is it a social club you are after ?

You expect me to be taxed so you can have somewhere to hang out ?

Have you not been to a Starbucks.

Edited by TheCountOfNowhere

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Surely a library is 'information'.

If the government make that information available to you so you can sit in the comfort and quiet of your own home, enlightening yourself and learning the wonders of the world, then that is enough. This could be covered by one central library service and the internet.

So, it's not the information/books you want, it's somewhere to sit ? Is it a social club you are after ?

You expect me to be taxed so you can have somewhere to hang out ?

Have you not been to a Starbucks.

Thanks for the strawman, but I've pretty clearly been saying a library should be a place for people to work and study at a desk in peace so they can improve their lot. Good luck revising for exams at Starbucks. Maybe your house is big and quiet enough for you to work effectively there, but many people don't have that luxury.

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So the jobless are made to pay for their (library) internet access, eh?

In North Yorkshire, county councillors are paid (very handsomely) for broadband to be installed in their homes. Better still, those who sit on NYCC and a local council (Scarborough BC, Harrogate BC, etc) get a broadband allowance from the Borough as well as the County, being paid twice for the same expense.

Scarborough BC went one better, giving its councillors free iPads and picking up the tab for the 4G connection, but carrying on paying them for the broadband that it said the iPads would make obsolete.

More on this here...

(Edited for spellin...)

Edited by Shrink Proof

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Well, I'm all for this if folk are going to use public terminals for social networking (faceplant, twatter, etc..).

However, folk actual visiting job sites need a hand, and this is disgusting abuse of the common wealth.

Closing libraries and charging the public for the use of materials and equipment shows how far removed contemporary Britain is from its Victorian heyday; the establishment of public libraries, worker rights, voting for the common man, suffrage movement, etc...

this is just a political council gig. Instead of firing some of the fat cats or non jobs they will charge for internet so they can point to the evil Torries ...

it also similiar when they charge about £3k to mark the off street parking in the front of your house ... same scam .. :(

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I am a librarian and the library service I work for is extending free Internet access to two hours a day in many libraries in recognition of the need to provide not just computers but advice and support in using them for job applications and welfare forms as they become digital by default.

The shift online is about more than just computers, it is about the sharing the skills and building confidence in using them. Libraries can do that.

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Well, I'm all for this if folk are going to use public terminals for social networking (faceplant, twatter, etc..).

However, folk actual visiting job sites need a hand, and this is disgusting abuse of the common wealth.

Closing libraries and charging the public for the use of materials and equipment shows how far removed contemporary Britain is from its Victorian heyday; the establishment of public libraries, worker rights, voting for the common man, suffrage movement, etc...

What a biased piece - the council is hiking library charges for the same reason they are turning off street lights/ youth centres - their budget are understrained, and statutory duties such as social care takes precedence over provision of other services.

The execs can of course opt to take a pay cut but obviously they won't and council tax payers don't want a council tax hike either.

Heem.. free stuffs / free internet- someone has to pay for it..

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Just pay A4E twice the amount the libraries cost to let jobseekers use their excuses for computers.

This will be a shit storm if they force people onto jobsmatch for x hours a week or sanction them.

That was my initial thought...How will this square with universal credit whereby you will have to work (if you're on part time hours) / search for work (for 40 hours a week)?

Might come a bit expensive....

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At one point the land was all free, then it was all parcelled up by men with swords who used the threat of force to charge the commoners for living on it.

Hmmm. I'm sure the Icini in 82 BC would have welcomed you with open arms to share out their "free" land. Land may have been free in Europe at the retreat of the glaciers but it was pretty quickly occupied by guys with pointy sticks.

If you want the Duke of Westminster's land. Get some like minded individuals with guns and take it from him, he'll find out how far his title deeds go just as Saxon lords did when the Normans arrived.

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  • 238 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%



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