The Barbarians are at the gates

26 May

I’ve just received a shocking email. In my position as music hire organiser for my local choral society, I was about to give our local library the list of choral music sets we will need next season. I sent a message to my contact at the library to warn him I was going to do this, but his reply causes huge concern, particularly if this is happening all over the country.

Up till now, choral music sets, whether they came from our local authority’s stock or had to be obtained through interlibrary loans, were charged at two rates: a lower amount for sets of up to 30 copies and a higher amount for sets of 31+. These charges are for any reasonable length of loan. With immediate effect, a new pricing system is being applied. There will no longer be a discount for small sets, and the loan period is now limited to three months (or multiples thereof). There are also different charges depending on whether the set can be sourced from our own library or has to be borrowed from elsewhere.

In bald figures, the new charges are:

Locally-sourced set

Up to 30 copies – was £8.40, will now be £45 for 3 months, £85 for 6 months

31-80 copies – was £11.15, will now be £45 for 3 months, £85 for 6 months

Set obtained through interlibrary loan

Up to 30 copies – was £8.40, will now be £85 for 3 months, £125 for 6 months

31-80 copies – was £11.15, will now be £85 for 3 months, £125 for 6 months

In other words, we may face rises of over 1000% (yes, that’s over ONE THOUSAND PERCENT!)

If I was a cynical person (heaven forbid!) I would say that these new charges are designed to kill the music loan service stone dead, giving the barbarians that manage our public services every excuse to close things down completely.

There is a massive amount of music all over the country which belongs to our local libraries (and thus was paid for through local taxation). This resource used to be treated as a service available to anyone: now, it appears that it is treated purely as a money-making opportunity. WE PAID FOR THIS STUFF IN THE FIRST PLACE – why do we have to pay again?

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Posted by on 26 May 2011 in Music


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