So there was a recent article from the BBC about the funding of libraries in the UK. Over here it seems since 2010 funding has been slashed drastically (because of the conservative attack on public spending most likely) and around 300 libraries have shut down. Paid staff have been cut and replaced with volunteers and the focus has shifted away from books to internet usage, tutoring, free WiFi etc.
I recently found St Pancras library and decided to sit in there after work primarily to work on my writing, but also to read. I was shocked to find that it closed at 8pm and was one of the latest opening public libraries in London. I've visited several times and the majority of visitors seem to be college kids in groups, parents with young children and possible homeless, a decent number of them sit at tables to use the power sockets to charge old phones.
There were few, if any, people reading the scant amount of books on offer. The 'quiet' zones are not observed. I think on my third visit, several children were actively running around screaming whilst the security guard strolled around unfazed. I just can't help but think it's a real shame. Libraries should be funded well, have plenty of staff and have enforced quiet areas for those that need it. There aren't many places in a big city to go where one can find peace and quiet. I think the homeless should be identified and encouraged to use the libraries facilities to improve their situations rather than to sit and use the plug sockets, gather newspapers for heat and be idle.
Seeing as I know quite a lot of you that follow me on here are from the USA. I wanted to ask what library provision is like over the pond and if you have similar issues and do you believe that perhaps libraries are becoming redundant in their old form?