ABC LIBRARY CLOSURES ­ Articles ­ ISAA

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ABC LIBRARY CLOSURES

Diana Wyndham

The proposed ABC Library closures will cause irreversible harm and the loss will affect us all, as Ray Bradbury made clear in Fahrenheit 451. There is little difference between dumping, storing or burning books – empty book shelves in a Berlin memorial are a mute reminder of the horrors of the 10 May 1933 Nazi book burnings. Fanatics tried to rid the world of printed knowledge – now administrators are doing the same to ‘save money’. 
Making such cuts will have devastating consequences - Nicholson Baker’s book Double Fold describes how the British Library (and others) are now suffering because in the 1990s they were conned into getting rid of their hard copies of international newspapers which dated from 1850. 
Online is not for ever as two Observer journalists noted – while it is still possible to read the thousand-year-old Domesday Book, an expensive multi-media version became obsolete after 16 years - http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2002/mar/03/research.elearning/print. 
Some background references are
New York Review of Books – A County without libraries - http://www.nybooks.com/blogs/nyrblog/2011/may/18/country-without-libraries/
The Guardian – UK lost more than 200 libraries in 2010 - http://www.theguardian.com/books/2012/dec/10/uk-lost-200-libraries-2012
Michelle Smith shows the value of print history in http://theconversation.com/valuing-our-treasured-print-history-in-the-era-of-the-bookless-library-25716
Elizabeth Farrelly showed her concerns in this SMH opinion piece on 4 September 2014 -http://www.smh.com.au/comment/library-book-dumping-signals-a-new-dark-age-20140903-10bspm.html
It would be a terrible mistake to reduce the collections of the ABC Libraries and to deliberately end the services of ten specialist librarians with their combined skills, knowledge and experience. 

The following text from ALIA ADVOCACY outlines key points:

ABC library closures

The ABC has decided to close sound and reference libraries in Adelaide, Hobart and Perth, to reduce the service in Sydney, and to make 10 specialist librarians redundant, as reported in The Guardian (Tuesday 30 January) “ABC dismantles sound libraries and axes staff to improve budgets” and The Guardian (Tuesday 6 February) 'ABC plans to send entire book collection to Samoa to save money'. This decision has caused deep concern among ABC staff, libraries and cultural institutions.

https://www.theguardian.com/media/2018/jan/30/abc-dismantles-sound-libraries-and-axes-staff-to-improve-budget 

https://www.theguardian.com/media/2018/feb/06/abc-plans-to-send-entire-book-collection-to-samoa-to-save-money

The ABC’s CDs and vinyl records, comprising more than half a million items, provide unparalleled collections of sound recordings, representing both Australian and overseas musicians and performers, in a variety of genres. Although all the items are commercially produced, many are now hard to find, and cannot be easily replaced.

Between them, the 10 specialist librarians (often combining library training with musical ability and broadcast talent) have more than 200 years’ worth of skills, knowledge and experience. This corporate and collection knowledge is irreplaceable.

Additionally, the ABC’s film, sound and print collections require an ongoing strategy; they are of national importance and must be preserved for future generations. Assurance is needed that the ABC has a carefully considered plan in place for the management of its collections, or that the ABC will work with experts from the cultural sector to develop such a document.

ALIA advocacy

ALIA has written to the Minister for the Arts, Chair of the ABC Board and ABC Managing Director. We have also been in touch with the Department of Communications and the Arts and sought support from ABC staff, cultural institutions and peak bodies, and people of influence.

How you can help

If you would like to add your voice to ours, please send a letter expressing your concerns to advocacy@alia.org.au, by close of business 19 February. This can be an individual letter or a letter signed by a number of people (not a petition). We will collate these expressions of support and forward them to the Minister and to the ABC.

The proposed ABC Library closures will cause irreversible harm and the loss will affect us all, as Ray Bradbury made clear in Fahrenheit 451. There is little difference between dumping, storing or burning books – empty book shelves in a Berlin memorial are a mute reminder of the horrors of the 10 May 1933 Nazi book burnings. Fanatics tried to rid the world of printed knowledge – now administrators are doing the same to ‘save money’. 
Making such cuts will have devastating consequences - Nicholson Baker’s book Double Fold describes how the British Library (and others) are now suffering because in the 1990s they were conned into getting rid of their hard copies of international newspapers which dated from 1850. 
Online is not for ever as two Observer journalists noted – while it is still possible to read the thousand-year-old Domesday Book, an expensive multi-media version became obsolete after 16 years - http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2002/mar/03/research.elearning/print. 
Some background references are:
New York Review of Books – A County without libraries - http://www.nybooks.com/blogs/nyrblog/2011/may/18/country-without-libraries/
The Guardian – UK lost more than 200 libraries in 2010 - http://www.theguardian.com/books/2012/dec/10/uk-lost-200-libraries-2012
Michelle Smith shows the value of print history in http://theconversation.com/valuing-our-treasured-print-history-in-the-era-of-the-bookless-library-25716
Elizabeth Farrelly showed her concerns in this SMH opinion piece on 4 September 2014 -http://www.smh.com.au/comment/library-book-dumping-signals-a-new-dark-age-20140903-10bspm.html
It would be a terrible mistake to reduce the collections of the ABC Libraries and to deliberately end the services of ten specialist librarians with their combined skills, knowledge and experience. 

 

 

 

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