Local Studies and Archives to be “outsourced”

By Jess Owen Camden Council have produced their libraries report. One key feature is that the very successful and valued 'Local Studies and Archives" are to be amalgamated with those of Islington.

The report suggests the council will “Seek to outsource the service or work with a near neighbour authority or other local organisation or local partner, aiming to increase efficiency whilst improving storage conditions and increasing accessibility where
possible.”

Hoping that they will “Work with a near neighbour authority or other local organisation or local partner to prioritise accessibility, enable remote access and increase
revenue generation potential”.

A small problem with this is that (apart from breaking up a team acknowledged to be one of the best in London) Islington have a very limited Local Studies and Archives provision.

Their website tells potential visitors “as space in our searchroom is limited, please contact us to book an appointment” Alternatively, enquirers may use their “Paid Research Service” at an additional cost of £26.00 per hour, or hire a private researcher to do the work for them.

This contrasts with Holborn’s expertly-staffed ‘walk-in’ service. There is no mention in the report about where these staff will be re-deployed. Privatization by the back door?

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